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Chair-based exercise programs in institutionalized older women: salivary steroid hormones, disabilities and frailty changes

journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2021, 14:22 by GE Furtado, HM Carvalho, M Loureiro, M Patrício, M Uba-Chupel, JC Colado, Eef Hogervorst, JP Ferreira, AM Teixeira
Purpose: Many people experience aging-related losses in different physical domains, which leads to a condition often called physical frailty (PF). The aim of this study was to analyse the effects of two different, 28-weeks, class chair-exercise protocols on salivary steroid hormones (SH), PF, and functional disabilities (FD) in frail older women. Methods: A sample of older frail individuals (n = 60, 817.84 years) participated in the study and were divided into three groups: chair elastic-band muscle strength exercises (CSE), n = 20), chair-multimodal exercise (CME, n = 21) and a control non-exercise group (CGne, n = 19). Both exercise programs consisted of 45 min of supervised chair-based exercise group classes, carried out 3 times/week. CME participants performed a progressive training using walking, mobility and body weight resistance exercises. The CSE participants exercised using an elastic-band system of progressive exercises. Both CSE and CME followed a circuit training protocol. The controls did not change their usual lifestyle. The indicators of PF, FD and SH concentrations were analyzed before and after the intervention. Results: Both exercise programs diminished the PF status showing significant time and time versus treatment interactions (p <.01). An increase in the CME group, between baseline and 14-weeks, and in the CSE group, after 28 weeks, for Testosterone concentrations was observed (p <.01). Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) increased after 28-weeks in the CME group and decreased in the CGne after the same period (p <.05). Both exercise programs decreased the negative scores of several FD domains, specially fear of falling that showed significant effects with time (p <.01), and time vs intervention (p <.05). Conclusion: Both chair-exercise based programs were effective in stimulating positive changes in physical health and in steroid hormone responses, especially in DHEA. The control group did show a negative trend towards an increased PF status and decreased levels of SH. It is crucial for public health to identify the main factors associated with Functional Disability and Physical Frailty that underlie the development of new methods for complementary therapies, such as the use of low doses of hormonal supplementation combined with long-term exercise interventions.


FEDER funds through COMPETE and national funds through FCT-Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology in the framework of project PTDC/DTP-DES/0154/2012.

CAPES/CNPQ–Ministry of Education, Brazil (BEX:11929/13-8 and and 13642/13-8.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Experimental Gerontology






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© Elsevier

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Experimental Gerontology and the definitive published version is available at

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Prof Eef Hogervorst. Deposit date: 30 January 2021

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