INTRODUCTION: The study aimed to determine the effect of group exercise frequency on health related quality of life in institutionalized elderly.
METHODS: One hundred participants were recruited for voluntary participation from five aged care facilities, with inclusion being based on the outcome of a medical assessment by a sports physician. A quasi-experimental design was used to compare the effect of a 12 week group exercise programme on two groups of participants using pre-test and post-test procedures.
RESULTS: A significant difference was noted in social function post training 2X/week (MD = -13.85, 95% CI [-24.66, -3.38], p = 0.017, d = 0.674) and 3X/week (MD = -13.30, 95% CI [-21.81, -5.59], p = 0.003, d = 0.712) a week. Training 3X/week a week provided an additional benefit in vitality (MD = -7.55, 95% CI [-13.16, -1.91], p = 0.018, d =0. 379). Improvements in mental component summary scale post training 2X/week (MD = -4.08, 95% CI [-7.67, -0.42], p = 0.033, d = 0.425) and 3X/week (MD = -6.67, 95% CI [-10.92, -2.33], p = 0.005, d = 0.567) a week was further noted.
CONCLUSION: Mental health and social health benefits can be obtained irrespective of exercise frequency 2X/week or 3X/week. The exercise intervention at a frequency 3X/ week was more effective in improving mental component summary due to a larger effect size obtained compared to the exercise frequency of 2X/week. Additional benefits in vitality were achieved by exercising 3X/week. This may assist the elderly in preserving their independence.