gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Functional tasks exercise to improve daily function in older women

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author P. de Vreede - Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Delft, The Netherlands
  • M. Samson - University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • N. van Meeteren - Academy of Health Sciences, Utrecht
  • H. Verhaar - University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa054

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Veröffentlicht: 18. Dezember 2006

© 2006 de Vreede et al.
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Although the positive effect of regular exercise in older adults is generally accepted, the effects of exercise on the performance of daily activities are inconsistent. We compared a newly-designed functional tasks exercise programme to a resistance exercise programme upon the performance of daily activities and muscle strength.


98 community dwelling women over 70 years old were randomly assigned to functional tasks exercise (Function group; n=33), resistance exercise (Strength group; n=34) or a control group (n=31). Exercise classes were attended three times per week for 12 weeks. During the functional programme exercises mimicking daily tasks such as climbing stairs, shopping, rising out of a chair or bed, and house cleaning were performed, while the resistance exercise program focused on strengthening the major muscle groups of arms, legs and trunk. The performance of daily tasks (Assessment of Daily Tasks Performance test; ADAP), isometric knee extensor strength (IKES) and isometric elbow flexor strength (IEFS), and free-time physical activity were measured at baseline, at the end of training (at 3 months) and 6 months after the end of training (at 9 months).


The ADAP total score increased more in the function group (mean change 6.8 [95%CI 5.2]) than in the resistance group (3.2 [1.3], p=0.007) or the control group (0.3 [-1.3], p<0.0001). The ADAP total score of the resistance group did not change compared with the control group. In contrast, IKES and IEFS increased significantly in the resistance group (12.5% [3.83]; 8.6% [3.11]) compared with the function group (-2.1% [-5.4], p=0.003; 0.3% [-3.6], p=0.025) and the control group (-2.7% [-8.6], p=0.003; 0.6% [-3.4], p=0.042). Six months after the end of training, the increase in ADAP scores were sustained in the function group, whereas the strength gains of the resistance group had disappeared. Physical activity scores demonstrated that functional tasks exercises may positively influence daily habits more than resistance training, which means that older individuals may continue exercising and thus maintain the effects of exercise.


Functional tasks exercises are more effective in improving physical functional performance than common resistance strength exercises and the effects are preserved for longer than the gain in muscle strength achieved with resistance exercises.