Physical activity combined with resistance training reduces symptoms of frailty in older adults

Increased physical activity (PA) is a crucial factor in the prevention of physical deterioration, and resistance training (RT) is also a common and effective intervention for older adults. However, the effects of PA as an adjunct to RT on frailty status remains unclear; therefore, the authors clarified the effect of a PA intervention with feedback, as an adjunct to resistance strength training, on the physical and mental outcomes of frail older adults.

The team performed a randomized controlled trial. Community-dwelling frail older adults in Japan were recruited to participate. Forty-one participants (mean age 81.5) were randomly assigned to engage in a resistance training with PA (RPA group) or RT group for six months. Frailty status and frailty scores, which were measured according to the Cardiovascular Health Study criteria-muscle strength, mobility, instrumental activities of daily living, and health-related quality of life-were assessed.

Participants in the RPA group exhibited a significant increase in light-intensity PA, the number of steps taken daily (p < 0.05), and lower-limb muscle strength (p < 0.05) and a significant decrease in frailty scores. However, pre- and postintervention frailty status, instrumental activities of daily living, and health-related quality of life did not differ significantly.

Implementation of a PA intervention as an adjunct to RT is feasible, as it reduced frailty scores and increased lower-limb muscle strength and mobility in older adults with frailty symptoms.