Adapted physical activity to promote active and healthy ageing: the PoliFIT pilot randomized waiting list-controlled trial

Giuseppina Bernardelli, Carlotta Roncaglione, Sarah Damanti, Daniela Mari, Matteo Cesari, Maura Marcucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical activities can prevent disability in elderly. Aims: To evaluate the feasibility and impact on physical function of an adapted physical activity (APA) programme in community-dwelling people of ≥ 70 years old. Methods: Non-blinded randomized trial with a waiting list control. Eligible people (n = 186) were randomly allocated to 4 months of weekly APA classes of 45 min or in control group performing usual lifestyle activity. Primary outcome: time to walk 400 m. Secondary outcomes: short physical performance battery (SPPB), pain (visual analogic scale, McGill Questionnaire), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), handgrip strength, accesses to Emergency Department and falls. Results: Participants were allocated to the intervention (n = 130) or to the control (n = 56) group (80% females aged 75.6 ± 4.6 years). We found statistically significant difference in the time to walk 400 m only in the subgroup intervention with the lower performance at baseline (p for interaction 0.031). SPPB improved and VAS decreased more in the intervention group. No significant differences for McGill questionnaire, ODI, GDS, accesses to ER and falls were showed. Discussion: Despite the good rate of attendance (71%) and satisfaction (97%), our APA programme was associated with no benefit on the time to walk 400 m and small benefit on SPPB and VAS. The efficacy of the intervention was likely limited by the short duration and low intensity and by the already good performance of our population at baseline. Conclusions: We designed this initiative as a pilot study intending to implement research of this type in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-518
Number of pages8
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Active aging
  • Adapted physical activity
  • Disability
  • Healthy aging
  • Physical function
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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