Rhythmic stepping exercise under cognitive conditions improves fall risk factors in community-dwelling older adults: Preliminary results of a cluster-randomized controlled trial
Objective: The purpose of this pilot trial was to evaluate whether a 24-week program of rhythmic stepping exercise (RSE) would be effective in improving physical function and reducing fear of falling in older adults. Participants: Four units (n = 52) randomized into an RSE group (two units, n = 25) and a non-rhythmic stepping exercise (NRSE) group (two units, n = 27) participated in a pilot cluster randomized controlled trial. Methods: Each exercise group received 60 min group training sessions once a week for 24 weeks. Measurement was based on the difference in physical functions between the RSE and NRSE groups. Results: Significant differences were observed between the two groups for locomotive function with significant group × time interaction. Relative risk was calculated as 2.778 (95% CI: 1.030-7.492) for fear of falling for participants in the NRSE group compared with patients in the RSE group (p = 0.037). Conclusions: The results of this pilot trial suggest that the RSE program is more effective in improving locomotive function and fear of falling.