Health benefits of multicomponent training programmes in seniors: a systematic review

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The ageing process is intrinsically associated with decline in physical endurance, muscle strength and gait ability and balance, which all contribute to functional disability. Regular physical training, and more particularly multicomponent training (MCT), has demonstrated many health benefits.


To evaluate the evidence of the health benefits of MCT including endurance training, muscle strengthening, balance exercises, and/or stretching (i.e. flexibility training) and/or coordination training in adults aged 65 years or over.


A comprehensive, systematic database search for manuscripts was performed in CINAHL Plus, Embase, Medline, PubMed Central, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Sport Discus and Web of Science using key words. For potential inclusion, two reviewers independently assessed all intervention studies published in English language from 1 January 2000 to 30 April 2015.


Of 2525 articles initially identified, 27 studies were finally included in this systematic review. They were all divided into five categories according to their main outcome measurements (cardio-respiratory fitness, metabolic outcomes, functional and cognitive functions and quality of life, QoL). These studies reported that MCT has a significant beneficial effect on cardio-respiratory fitness and on metabolic outcomes. Substantial improvement in functional and cognitive performance was also measured and a slighter but positive effect on QoL.


Overall, this review demonstrates a positive effect of MCT with functional benefits and positive health outcomes for seniors. Based on this evidence, clinicians should encourage all adults aged 65 or over to engage in MCT programmes to favour healthy ageing and keeping older members of our society autonomous and independent.

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