Community-Based Essentrics Training Program

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Mooth, Merredith
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Middle Tennessee State University
Healthy aging is associated with declines in functional performance and the ability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs) independently. Multicomponent exercise programs focused on the development of balance, flexibility, muscular fitness, and functional mobility contribute to maintenance of functional performance in healthy older adults. One such program is Essentrics, a low-impact group fitness program. The effects of Essentrics training on physical performance outcomes in community-dwelling older adults were investigated in these studies. Physical performance assessments included the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Chair Sit and Reach (CSR), Back Scratch Test (BST), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG), and the 30-Second Chair Stand Test (30 CST). The sample included 12 older adults (73 ± 6 years; 10 females, 2 males). Participants were recruited from fitness classes at a senior community center and had been engaged in different physical activities for at least 3 months, including programs focusing on aerobic endurance, muscular fitness, balance, and flexibility. Participants completed a pre-testing assessment prior to engaging in 8 weeks of Essentrics training. Post-testing assessments were conducted within one week after the end of the training intervention. There were significant improvements in BBS, SPPB, TUG, and 30 CST scores. No significant improvement was observed in CSR or BST scores. Notably, participants demonstrated performance improvements greater than the minimum detectable change values for the SPPB and 30 CST, indicating meaningful improvements in functional performance. However, high baseline levels of performance on the BBS and TUG led to smaller relative improvements in the ability to complete ADLs. Overall, Essentrics was a safe and effective training program which yielded improvements in balance, muscular fitness, and functional mobility in community-dwelling older adults. When taught in a group fitness setting, Essentrics encouraged exercise adherence through social interaction, with an added benefit of safety monitoring by a qualified instructor. As a low-impact form of exercise, Essentrics may be a suitable option when designing multicomponent fitness programs for older adults.
Balance, Community-based, Essentrics, Older adults, Kinesiology