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Characteristics and effects of physical exercise programs for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: an integrative review
da Silva Santos VR, Campos Damasceno AW, Gomes Silva MJ, Ferreira Cabral D, Alves de Oliveira AC
Revista Ciencias em Saude 2023 Mar;13(1):3-13
systematic review

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the characteristics of physical exercise programs for older adults and their effects during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: An integrative review was conducted between January and March 2022. A search was conducted in Medline via PubMed, Lilacs via BVS, PEDro, and Cochrane Library. Experimental articles (randomized clinical trials, non-randomized trials, or quasi-experimental studies) published from 2019 to 2021, with no language restriction, and that used physical exercise programs for older adults (> 60 years) in their intervention were included. The studies were selected by reading the title, abstract, and full text. The selected articles had their results extracted using an online form, tabulated using an electronic spreadsheet, and analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. RESULTS: 113 studies were identified; 7 met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review, all randomized controlled trials. The multi-component exercise programs were more frequent (resistance, balance, flexibility, and aerobic), delivered remotely and performed 2 to 7 times a week, lasting between 30 and 50 minutes. Significant effects were observed on physical function, body composition, blood triglycerides, the incidence of falls, physical activity, and functional capacity. CONCLUSIONS: The physical exercise programs used during the COVID-19 pandemic showed promising results for older adults. The programs proved to be a viable alternative for maintaining the physical, mental, and cognitive functions of older adults in times of public calamity.

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