Journal of Aging and Physical Activity vol:18 issue:3 pages:335-352
Two groups of sedentary older adults, participating either in a lifestyle physical activity intervention (LIFE, n = 60) or a structured exercise intervention (STRU, n = 60), were compared with a control group (CO, n = 66) in terms of physical fitness and cardiovascular risk factors. Participants of LIFE were stimulated to integrate physical activity in their daily routines and received an individualized home-based program. Participants of STRU completed five supervised training sessions every two weeks in a fitness centre. Both interventions lasted 11 months and focused on endurance, strength, flexibility, and postural/balance exercises. The results revealed that both interventions were equally effective in improving functional performance. STRU was more effective than LIFE in improving cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness. Limited effects emerged on cardiovascular risk, with STRU improving on total cholesterol/HDL. Consequently, interventions aiming at reducing cardiovascular risks among sedentary elderly should focus on long-term changes in physical activity behavior.