Effects of movement-based mind-body interventions on physical fitness in healthy older adults: A meta-analytical review

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Introduction: Declines in physical fitness can notably affect healthy aging of older adults. Multimodal exercise training regimen such as mind-body interventions (MBIs) has been reported to mitigate these aging-related declines of physical function. This meta-analytical review aimed at pooling the effects of MBIs on physical fitness indices compared to active control (AC) and inactive control (IC) conditions in healthy older adults. Methods: The literature search was conducted in 3 databases using search terms with Boolean conjunctions. Randomized controlled trials applying MBIs focusing on improving physical fitness parameters in healthy seniors over 65 years of age were screened for eligibility. Eligibility and study quality were assessed by 2 researchers using the PEDro scale. Standardized mean differences (SMD) adjusted for small sample sizes (Hedges’ g) served as main outcomes for the comparisons of MBIs versus IC and MBIs versus AC. Results: Thirty trials with 2,792 healthy community dwellers (mean age: 71.2 ± 4.7 years) were included. Large overall effects were found for strength (p < 0.001, SMD: 0.87 [90% CI: 0.43, 1.30], I2 = 94%), medium effects were observed for functional mobility (p = 0.009, SMD: 0.55 [90% CI: 0.20, 0.89], I2 = 83%), and small overall effects were found for static balance (p = 0.02, SMD: 0.35 [90% CI: 0.10, 0.60], I2 = 77%), endurance (p = 0.0001, SMD: 0.44 [90% CI: 0.25, 0.62], I2 = 0%), and flexibility (p = 0.003, SMD: 0.46 [90% CI: 0.21, 0.72], I2 = 54%) in favor of MBIs compared to IC. Small effects of strength slightly favoring AC (p = 0.08, SMD: −0.22 [90% CI: −0.43, −0.01], I2 = 52%) were found, whereas static balance moderately improved in favor of MBIs (p < 0.001, SMD: 0.46 [90% CI: 0.16, 0.76], I2 = 73%). Discussion/Conclusion: MBIs induce small to moderate effects in relevant domains of physical fitness in healthy older adults. Strength should be better targeted with traditional resistance training routines, whereas balance seems to sufficiently benefit from MBIs. However, large variability between the studies was observed due to differences in methodology, intervention content, and outcomes that affect conclusive evidence. © 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerontology
Number of pages19
ISSN1423-0003
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27.01.2021

ID: 5578818

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