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Rivista di Medicina, Traumatologia e Psicologia dello Sport

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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 May 27


lingua: Inglese

Modified stepping exercise improves physical performances and quality of life in healthy elderly subjects

Taweesak JANYACHAROEN 1, 2, Kungsadal SIRIJARIYAWAT 1, Teerawat NITHIATTHAWANON 1, Puttawat PAMORN 1, Kittisak SAWANYAWISUTH 3, 4

1 School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand; 2 Research Center in Back, Neck and Other Joint Pain and Human Performance, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand; 3 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand; 4 The Research and Training Center for Enhancing Quality of Life of Working-Age People, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand


BACKGROUND: Stepping exercise, an aerobic exercise, has been shown to be beneficial to elderly people if performed continuously for at least 12 weeks. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of engaging in modified stepping exercise on stairs with shorter height than the standard stepping platform for a shorter duration (8 weeks) on both physical fitness and quality of life in healthy elderly subjects by using a randomized controlled trial.
METHODS: The study was conducted at the Elderly Club, Muang District, Khon Kaen, Thailand. The study examined healthy elderly subjects aged 60-80 who had not engaged in regularly exercise in the past two months and no contraindication for exercise. Eligible subjects were randomly assigned to either the stepping exercise group (SG) or control group (CG). The SG performed stepping exercise together in groups three times a week for eight weeks, while the CG received general health education. Stepping exercise was performed for one hour on a one-step platform that was 18 centimeters in height. Physical performance was measured at the baseline and the end of the study. This included a six-minute walk distance test (6MWT), a five times sit to stand test (FTSST), a timed up and go test (TUGT), a functional reach test (FRT) and a quality of life (QoL) assessment.
RESULTS: In total, 42 subjects were enrolled, half of which were randomly assigned to the SG and the other half assigned to the CG. The median age of both groups was equal at 69 years. Other baseline characteristics were comparable. None of the outcomes differed between the two groups baseline. However they showed statistically significant differences at the end of study, with the exception of FTSST. After 8 weeks, the SG performed significantly better on the 6MWT (468 vs 426 m; p value 0.01), TUGT (5.96 vs 8.52 sec; p value <0.01), and FRT(28 vs 21 cm; p value <0.01) and had a better QoL score (105 vs 98; p value 0.03) than the CG.
CONCLUSIONS: Modified stepping exercise was beneficial to the healthy elderly subjects. Physical functions and QoL significantly improved after the short duration of eight weeks.

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