Effectiveness of a community-delivered pneumatic machine resistance training programme (Gym Tonic) for older adults at neighbourhood senior centres – a randomized controlled trial
Background: Resistance training with pneumatic machines attenuates the age-associated loss in muscle strength and function in older adults. However, effectiveness of scaled-up pneumatic machine resistance training in the community is not known. We evaluated the effectiveness of a multi-site community-delivered 12-week pneumatic machine resistance programme (Gym Tonic (GT)) on muscle strength and physical function in older adults.
Methods: Three hundred eighteen community-dwelling older adults aged ≥65 years were randomized into 12-week (twice/week) coach-supervised-community-based-GT-programme(n = 168) and wait-list control groups(n = 150). After 12 weeks, the intervention group continued with GT-training and the control group received supervised-GT-programme for further 12 weeks (partial-crossover-design). Fried frailty score, lower-extremity muscle strength and physical function (i.e., fast and habitual gait-speed, balance, repeated-chair-sit-to-stand, short physical performance battery (SPPB)) were determined at baseline, 12 and 24 weeks. Analysis adopted a modified-intentionto-treat-approach.
Results: After 12 weeks, lower-extremity muscle strength improved by 11–26%(all p < 0.05) and fast gait-speed improved by 7%(p = 0.008) in GT-intervention group(n = 132) than controls(n = 118), regardless of frailty status.
Other physical function performance did not differ between control and intervention groups after 12 weeks (all p > 0.05). Frailty score improved by 0.5 in the intervention but not control group(p = 0.004). Within the intervention group, lower-extremity muscle strength and physical function outcomes improved at 24 weeks compared with baseline (all p < 0.001). Within controls, lower-extremity muscle strength, SPPB, repeated-chair-sit-to-stand and fast gait-speed improved post-GT (24-week) compared to both pre-GT (12-week) and baseline. Programme adherence was high in intervention [0–12-weeks,90%(SD,13%); 12–24-weeks,89%(SD,17%)] and control [12–24- weeks,90%(SD,19%)] groups.
Conclusion: Community-delivered GT resistance training programme with pneumatic machines has high adherence, improves muscle strength and fast gait-speed, and can be effectively implemented at scale for older adults. Future studies could examine if including other multi-modal function-specific training to complement GT can achieve better physical/functional performance in power, balance and endurance tasks.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04661618, Registered 10 December 2020 - Retrospectively registered.
The GT program was funded by Lien Foundation. The evaluation by SIT was partly funded through an Ministry of Education Innovation Capability Fund (R-MOE-A404-F024).
Journal/Conference/Book titleEuropean Review of Aging and Physical Activity
- 7117 (R-MOE-A404-F024) Extending Health Span and Advancing Person Centric Care in Community