This systematic review evaluates the effect of seated exercise on impairment, activity and participation levels of older adults living with a health condition or impairment. This review included trials evaluating seated exercises of various types (eg, resistance, flexibility, range of motion, balance) in people over 65 years of age compared to other exercises or usual care. Methodological quality was evaluated with the PEDro scale, and the quality of evidence of each meta-analysis was assessed using the Grades of Research, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Fourteen trials (n = 921 participants) were included. All outcomes classified by the International Classification of Functioning were considered for this review. The sample was predominantly composed of women. Most studies (n = 9) were considered high quality. Most trials (n = 10) were conducted in residential care facilities or day care centres. The most common intervention was progressive resistance training compared to usual care or social activities. Duration of interventions ranged from six weeks to seven months, with most spanning twelve weeks. Meta-analysis of four trials (n = 141 participants) provided low-quality evidence that seated exercise had a large positive effect on cognition when compared to usual care or social activity (standardised mean difference 1.20, 95% CI 0.25 to 2.16). Meta-analysis of three trials (n = 158 participants) provided moderate quality evidence that seated exercise, compared to social activities, did not have an effect on balance (standardised mean difference 0.13, 95% CI -0.19 to 0.44). Meta-analysis of 3 trials (n = 45 participants) provided low quality evidence that seated exercise did not have an effect on activity as assessed by Timed Up and Go Test (standardised mean difference 0.28, 95% CI -1.08 to 1.63) compared to social activities. In older adults with chronic health conditions, seated exercise was better than usual care to improve cognition, but no better than social activities in improving balance and activity.
Sexton BP, et al. To sit or not to sit? A systematic review and meta-analysis of seated exercise for older adults. Australas J Ageing 2019;38(1):15-27