Exercise Training for African Americans with Disabilities Residing in Difficult Social Environments

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Rimmer, James H
Nicola, Terry
Riley, Barth
Creviston, Todd
Rimmer, James H and Nicola, Terry and Riley, Barth and Creviston, Todd (2002) Exercise Training for African Americans with Disabilities Residing in Difficult Social Environments. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23 (4). pp. 290-295.
Objective: To examine the feasibility, efficacy, and safety of a structured 12-week exercise training program for a predominantly African-American group of adults with multiple health conditions who reside in difficult social environments. Methods: A total of 37 females and 7 males (mean age, 54.1 years) participated in an exercise training regimen 3 days per week for 60 minutes per day (cardiovascular, 30 minutes; strength, 20 minutes; and flexibility, 10 minutes). Outcome measures included peak VO2 (mL min -1, mL kg -1 min -1); upper and lower body strength (strength); hand-grip strength (GS); body weight (BW); total skin folds (TS); waist-to-hip ratio (WHR); hamstring/low-back flexibility (HLBF); and shoulder flexibility (SF). Results: Compared to the control group, the exercise group showed significant gains in peak VO2 (p < 0.01); strength (p < 0.01); and body composition (TS, p < 0.01). There was no significant difference between the exercise and control groups on BW, WHR, HLBF, and GS. Of a total 1116 exercise sessions (31 experimental participants x 36 sessions), 87% of the sessions were attended. Conclusion: A structured exercise-training program can provide substantial improvement in strength and cardiovascular fitness in low-income, sedentary adults with multiple chronic conditions and/or risk factors for chronic conditions. Future research should explore simple home-based and community-based physical activity interventions that provide ongoing support for increasing and maintaining physical activity participation in this cohort.