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JFSF Vol 3, No 1, March 2018, p.26-34

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-03-026


Original Article

Breaking sedentary behaviour has the potential to increase / maintain function in frail older adults

Juliet A. Harvey, Sebastien F.M. Chastin, Dawn A. Skelton

  • Institute of Applied Health Research, School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Keywords: Sedentary Behavior, Sitting Time, Physical Function, Frailty, Older Adults


Objectives: This pilot study aimed to evaluate the effect of a sedentary behaviour (SB) reduction intervention (Stomp Out (Prolonged) Sitting (SOS)) in frail older adults. Methods: Participants (>65years) were recruited from sheltered housing complexes and randomized into 2 groups. On weeks 2, 6 and 10 both groups had face-to-face 40min motivational sessions, including feedback on physical function and SB. One group had the addition of real-time tactile feedback on sitting. Total sedentary time and patterns of SB were recorded by activPAL, along with validated measures of function: Timed Up and Go (TUG), Sit-to-Stand (STS) and balance tests. Outcomes were analyzed by intention-to-treat mixed model analysis. Results: Twenty-three participants started the SOS intervention. Health issues led to high attrition in this frail population. TUG (4 seconds faster) and STS (>2 rises more in 30 seconds) scores improved significantly in both groups. There were no significant changes in SB parameters. Conclusion: Motivational interviewing alongside functional test feedback, visual and real-time feedback on SB improved physical function over the study. This pilot study suggests that sit-to-stand transitions to break prolonged sitting time may help reduce frailty and functional decline in people who are often unable to engage in more intense exercise interventions.