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Seniors Benefit from Exercise DVDs

Just 3 times a week home-based DVD exercise programs can be effective….

A new clinical trial demonstrates effectiveness of a 6-month home exercise DVD in seniors. This trial evaluated flexibility, balance, and toning of physical function. The inclusion criteria incorporated patients that are inactive and over 65 y/o. Patients had consent from their physicians, and were willing to be randomized; 307 participants were randomized to receive a workout video from home or watching a video on healthy aging. The workout video portion, called "FlexToBa," included exercise 3 times a week over a 6-month period.

The participants in the trial were asked to complete daily exercise logs and receive short support telephone calls with exercise tips every other week for the first two months, and then every month.

At the end of the six-month trial, researchers found that those who stayed with the FlexToBa program saw "clinically important" improvements in scores on several tests of physical function, compared to those in the control group. The clinical tests included strength, balance and gait. Participants also saw increases in their upper body strength and balance, and were able to maintain their previous level of lower body flexibility.

The results showed clinical improvements in Short Physical Performance Battery (tool evaluating lower extremity function), lower extremity flexibility, and upper body strength. From the results it was concluded that, the exercise intervention produced a clinically significant improvement in the Short Physical Performance Battery and improvements in flexibility and strength, demonstrating the effectiveness of a low-cost DVD exercise program in improving physical function in older adults.

The researchers commented, "This home exercise DVD is beneficial to our senior population and can serve as an instrument to improve function and decrease disability."

Effects of a DVD-Delivered Exercise Intervention on Physical Function in Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci first published online February 11, 2013 doi:10.1093/gerona/glt014.