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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

The effectiveness of a home-based exercise for older Portuguese people

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author C. Melo - Escola Superior de Saúde do Porto, Portugal
  • M. Trew - University of Brighton, UK
  • K. Raija - Escola Superior de Saúde do Porto, Portugal

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa056

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Melo et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




The majority of Portuguese older people are not motivated to do physical activity. Home-based exercise programmes are thought to be ideal for this population.

The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of a moderate, specific, home-based exercise programme, without any equipment, on falls risk factors (muscle endurance, flexibility, lower limb strength, balance and voluntary stepping time), quality of life and participation, in elderly Portuguese people.


60 older people volunteered from Oporto Health Center and were randomized into an intervention (n = 26) or a control group (n = 34). Sit to Stand test (STST), Timed Up and Go (TUG), Functional Reach Test (FRT), Lateral Reach Test (LRT), Voluntary Stepping Time Test (VTST) stepping forward with right and left foot (SFRF and SFLF respectively), stepping laterally with right and left foot (SLRF and SLLF respectively), and stepping backwards with right and left foot (SBRF and SBLF respectively), Active Range of Movement (AROM) in both ankles, Index of Kyphosis (IK), Falls Efficacy Scale (FES), Quality of Life of the Old Person (QoLOP) and Functional Status Questionnaire (FSQ) were assessed at baseline and after 3 months.

Inclusion criteria: between 65 to 84 years old, functionally independent in the community, able to walk without walking aids.

Participants with lower extremity amputation, neurological disease, severe musculoskeletal disease, Folstein Mental Status score <15, unstable cardiovascular disease, and blindness were excluded.

The intervention group undertook a moderate, specific, home- based exercise programme for 3 months and the control group continued their normal activities.

The exercise programme consisted of 10 exercises. The first five, which were undertaken in sitting, involved cervical retraction, cervical rotation, thoracic extension, shoulder elevation, and ankle joint dorsi and plantar flexion. The remaining exercises were one leg stance, forward and lateral reach, rapid stepping in all directions, and walking. The exercises were progressed through increased repetitions, changing body position, increased speed, and increased distance reached and walked.


Participants in the intervention group had improved in the majority of the outcome measures: STST (F=26, p=0.0001), TUG (F=8.8, p=0.04), FRF (F=9.0, p=0.004), SFRF (F=14.6, p=0.0003), SFLF (F=17.5, p=0.0001), SLRF(F=8.0, p=0.007), SLLF(F=18.5, p=0.0001), SBRF(F=9.9, p=0.003), SBLF(F=13.2, p=0.0006) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) in FSQ (F=5.6, p= 0.02) compared with the control group. No change was seen in FRL, IK, FES, QoLOP, Activities of Daily Living, Emotional and Social dimensions of FSQ as a result of the intervention. Adherence to the programme at 3 months was 79%.


A moderate, specific, home-based exercise programme, easy to administer and to undertake by the participants, improved fall risk factors and participation in Portuguese old persons.