Community-based Exercise Enhanced by a Self-management Programme to Promote Independent Living in Older Adults

A Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial

Pia Øllgaard Olsen; Mark A Tully; Borja Del Pozo Cruz; Manfred Wegner; Paolo Caserott


Age Ageing. 2022;51(7):afac137 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: older adults face several modifiable barriers for engaging in physical activity (PA) programmes such as incontinence, loneliness and fear of falling. Enhancing PA programmes with behavioural components to support self-management of such barriers may increase the effectiveness to preserve functional capacity and independent living.

Objective: this study aimed at assessing the effects of a complex active lifestyle intervention (CALSTI) on objective and self-report measures of functional capacity and disability in community-dwelling older adults.

Subjects and Methods: about 215 older adults (79.9 ± 0.4 years) at increased risk of functional decline were randomly allocated to (i) CALSTI consisting of 12-weeks progressive explosive resistance training (24 sessions) enhanced by a 24-week multi-factorial self-management programme (8 sessions), or (ii) an extended version of the self-management intervention (SEMAI; 12 sessions) to reflect a reinforcement of usual care. The interventions were embedded in a nationally regulated preventive care pathway. Blinded assessors collected primary (the Short Physical Performance Battery; SPPB) and secondary outcome data (self-reported difficulty in activities of daily living, the short version of the Late-Life Function and Disability Index, and the EQ-health VAS scale) at baseline and after 12 and 24 weeks.

Results: after 24 weeks, CALSTI led to a clinically superior increase in SPPB compared with SEMAI (+0.77 points, P < 0.01), and the CALSTI group also demonstrated improvements in selected self-reported outcomes.

Conclusions: a novel complex exercise and multi-factorial self-management intervention embedded in preventive care practice had large and clinically meaningful effects on a key measure of functional capacity and predictor of disability.