Feasibility and Effects on Muscle Function of an Exercise Program for Older Adults

Document Type


Publication Date



Study objective was to determine feasibility and compliance with a 3-month exercise intervention in older adults, and if peripheral quantitative computed tomography muscle measures and jumping mechanography could detect changes in muscle mass and function.
Methods A parallel group, nonblinded, pilot trial with individuals 70 yr or older randomized to control group of walking-only (WALK) or an intervention group of walking combined with exercises to improve balance and strength (W + EX). Both groups attended similar weekly nutrition education sessions. Body composition, muscle density, intramuscular adipose tissue area, and muscle function were assessed before and after the intervention using dual-energy x-ray, peripheral quantitative computed tomography, functional tests, and mechanography.
Results Eighty-five (90%) of 94 individuals enrolled completed (41WALK, 44W + EX). Eighty-six percent of participants attended seven or more nutrition sessions, and log sheets, used to assess exercise compliance, were returned by 66% of participants, and of those, 88% logged activity on 50%+ days. Sixty-seven percent of participants stated that they increased activity levels, and 82% stated that they felt better overall. Both groups increased lean and lost fat mass, resulting in decreases in fat percentage (all, P < 0.05). Intramuscular adipose tissue area decreased and muscle density increased among WALK (P < 0.05 and P = 0.056, respectively) but were not different between groups. Improvement in force efficiency and chair-rise power were greater among W + EX group than WALK (5.9% ± 1.8% vs −1.2% ± 2.0% [P = 0.01] and 0.25 ± 0.19 W·kg−1 and −0.37 ± 0.23 W·kg−1 [P = 0.04], respectively). Differences in mechanography results became greater in a per-protocol analysis.

Publication Title

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise





First Page


Last Page


DOI of Published Version