Effect of a group exercise program compared with a home-based exercise program on physical activity in community-dwelling elderly. Study protocol for the get-pace: randomized control trial

Siqveland, Lena
Background: The elderly population is increasing faster than before, so does non-communicable diseases. The benefits of physical activity are well established, but the level of physical activity still decreases with age. It is necessary to find affordable and feasible ways to promote and educate the elderly to continue or start living an active life. The primary objective is to investigate if a group exercise program will change the physical activity level of community-dwelling elderly. The secondary objective is comparing the effect of a group-exercise program and a home-based program on the number of daily steps, functional status, risk of falling, fear of falling and depression. Methods: Single blind randomized control trial where community-dwelling elderly are recruited through primary care electronic patient charts. Participants must be 65 years or older, retired and able to walk independently with/without a walker. Participants are excluded if staying at a geriatric center, prohibited by the physician to participate in an exercise program or having significant cognitive impairments. They will be allocated randomly to the intervention group with a group exercise program, or control group with a home-based program. The programs last eight weeks. Study investigators are blinded to the allocation. Primary outcome is physical activity, measured with the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE). Secondary outcomes are number of daily steps, functional status, risk of falling, fear of falling and depression. Assessed with pedometer, Barthel index, Get Up and Go test, FES-I and HADS. We will use Repeated Measures ANOVA test to compare the outcome means between groups at baseline, one week after intervention, six and twelve months after the intervention. Discussion: Exercise is a safe and cheap intervention that should be a standard preventative measure implemented early in primary care. Earlier studies show good short-term effects, but not much longterm information. This study wants to create an eight-week exercise program that can prepare the participants for an active life after the intervention. Findings from the GET-PACE trial could assist in implementing the Group Exercise Training for Physical Activity in Community-dwelling Elderly as a preventative method at primary care level ​
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