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01.02.2016 | Beiträge zum Themenschwerpunkt | Ausgabe 2/2016

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie 2/2016

Fitness training for the old and frail

Effectiveness and impact on daily life coping and self-care abilities

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie > Ausgabe 2/2016
Maria Magdalena Schreier, MA Ulrike Bauer, Ph.D Jürgen Osterbrink, M.D. Josef Niebauer, M.D. Bernhard Iglseder, M.D. Jens Reiss
Wichtige Hinweise
An erratum to this article can be found at http://​dx.​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00391-015-1015-8.



Limitations of functionality and mobility due to age-related decrease in muscle strength, balance and physical endurance are closely related to weakness, risk of falls, malnutrition as well as an increase in morbidity and mortality.

Study participants and methods

In a pilot study we developed and evaluated an 8-week equipment-based progressive resistance training program for geriatric day hospital patients (> 65 years) to improve strength, endurance and coordination. Of the 38 patients who entered the study, 20 were randomly assigned to the intervention group (ALFIT training) and 18 to the control group who only participated in the routine program of the day hospital. Motivation, experiences during training and the subjective impact on coping with daily life were examined with qualitative interviews.


Muscular strength, endurance, coordination and balance improved during the implementation of the ALFIT training program. The most pronounced effects were seen for the leg pressing with an average increase of 27.8 ± 16 kg (mean ± SD) in terms of 1 repetition maximum and an increase of 12.6 ± 23.7 (mean ± SD) in terms of muscular endurance (number of repetitions). Positive effects were also evident for mobility and nutritional status. The results of the interviews suggest that the ALFIT training leads to noticeably better physical function and confidence and can have a positive impact on coping in daily life and self-care abilities.


The results show that ALFIT training was appropriate for the needs of geriatric patients and demonstrated beneficial effects on muscular strength, functionality and mobility. The results of the interviews suggest that even frail old people can be motivated to engage in sports.

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