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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 569194, 19 pages
Review Article

The Effectiveness of Exercise Interventions for the Management of Frailty: A Systematic Review

1Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health and Social Development, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada V1V 1V7
2School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 3K7
3Division of Geriatric Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L9C 7N4
4Graduate Program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6G 1H1

Received 22 November 2010; Accepted 7 February 2011

Academic Editor: Eric Le Bourg

Copyright © 2011 Olga Theou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This systematic review examines the effectiveness of current exercise interventions for the management of frailty. Eight electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials that identified their participants as “frail” either in the title, abstract, and/or text and included exercise as an independent component of the intervention. Three of the 47 included studies utilized a validated definition of frailty to categorize participants. Emerging evidence suggests that exercise has a positive impact on some physical determinants and on all functional ability outcomes reported in this systematic review. Exercise programs that optimize the health of frail older adults seem to be different from those recommended for healthy older adults. There was a paucity of evidence to characterize the most beneficial exercise program for this population. However, multicomponent training interventions, of long duration (≥5 months), performed three times per week, for 30–45 minutes per session, generally had superior outcomes than other exercise programs. In conclusion, structured exercise training seems to have a positive impact on frail older adults and may be used for the management of frailty.