Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the impact of exercise interventions with that of no intervention or attentional controls on functional status in adults aged 65 years or more were eligible for inclusion. Interventions had to be directly supervised by research staff. Studies of multiple interventions were not eligible for inclusion. Studies of interventions aimed at participants with specific diseases were excluded. Studies had to be randomised at the individual level and have at least 10 participants per treatment group. Cluster-randomised studies were not eligible for inclusion.
Included RCTs assessed strength or resistance exercise, aerobic exercise, balance, flexibility or functional exercise interventions. Interventions lasted from 15 to 90 minutes and had a frequency of one to seven days per week. Most studies were carried out in community settings. Attendance rates ranged from 62% to 99%. Mean age of participants was 65 to 88 years. Median percentage of females was 79. Healthy and inactive and frail and functionally limited participants were included. Most participants lived at home. Outcomes included measures of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living: standardised measures of functional performance and physical performance outcomes (chair rise, walk speed, walk endurance, balance and co-ordination).
The authors did not state how studies were selected for the review.