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Volume 41 Number 5, September/October 2004
Pages 659  —- 668

Effect of an exercise program on functional performance of institutionalized elderly

Alessandra de Carvalho Bastone, MS, PT; Wilson Jacob Filho, PhD

The University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; D. Pedro II Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil; National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Brasília, Brazil
Abstract-This study determined the effectiveness of a 6-month program of regular exercises for the improvement of functional performance of the elderly living in a nursing home. The 40 subjects aged 60 to 99 who took part in this trial were assigned either to a comparative group or an exercise group. The following variables were measured: functional performance with the use of an obstacle course, a lower-limb function test, and a 6-minute walk test (gait velocity); isometric strength of the knee extensors; proprioception of the lower limbs; mental status through the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE); and depression symptoms with the use of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). In the exercise group, 19 subjects completed the program and attended an average of 32 (68%) sessions. At the end of the trial, the exercise subjects showed significant performance improvement in quantitative and qualitative obstacle course scores, lower-limb function test, gait velocity test, knee extensors strength, and the GDS, while the nonexercise subjects showed significant decrease in qualitative obstacle course score, lower-limb function, gait velocity, MMSE, and the GDS.
Key words: depression, elderly, exercise, functional performance, institutionalization, mental status, proprioception, strength.

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