What type, or combination of exercise can improve preferred gait speed in older adults? a meta-analysis

Renske van Abbema, Mathieu de Greef, Céline Crajé, Wim Krijnen, Hans Hobbelen, Cees van der Schans

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Improved preferred gait speed in older adults is associated with increased survival rates. There are inconsistent findings in clinical trials regarding effects of exercise on preferred gait speed, and heterogeneity in interventions in the current reviews and meta-analyses.
Objective: to determine the meta-effects of different types or combinations of exercise interventions from randomized controlled trials on improvement in preferred gait speed. Twenty-five studies were analysed in this meta-analysis.

Conclusion: Progressive resistance training with high intensities, is the most effective exercise modality for improving preferred gait speed. Sufficient muscle strength seems an important condition for improving preferred gait speed. The addition of balance-, and/or endurance training does not contribute to the significant positive effects of progressive resistance training. A promising component is exercise with a rhythmic component. Keeping time to music or rhythm possibly trains higher cognitive functions that are important for gait.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalBMC geriatrics
Issue number72
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015



  • elderly people
  • gait speed
  • exercise

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