Authors: Niemela, K; Vaananen, I; Leinonen, R; Laukkanen, P



Background and aims: Home-based exercise is a viable alternative for older adults with difficulties in exercise opportunities outside the home. The aim of this study was to investigate the benefits of home-based rocking-chair training, and its effects on the physical performance of elderly women. Methods: Community-dwelling women (n=51) aged 73-87 years were randomly assigned to the rocking-chair group (RCG, n=26) or control group (CG, n=25) by drawing lots. Baseline and outcome measurements were hand grip strength, maximal isometric knee extension, maximal walking speed over 10 meters, rising from a chair five times,

and the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). The RCG carried out a six-week rocking-chair training program at home, involving ten sessions per week, twice a day for 15 minutes per session, and ten different movements. The CG continued their usual daily lives. After three months, the RCG responded to a mail questionnaire. Results: After the intervention, the RCG improved and the CG declined. The data showed significant interactions of group by time in the BBS score (p=0.001), maximal knee extension strength (p=0.006) and maximal walking speed (p=0.046), which indicates that the change between groups during the follow-up period was

significant. Adherence to the training protocol was high (96%). After three months, the exercise program had become a regular home exercise habit for 88.5% of the subjects. Conclusions: Results indicate that home-based elderly women benefit from this easily implemented rocking-chair exercise program. The subjects became motivated to participate in training and continued the exercises. This is a promising alternative exercise method for maintaining *physical activity* and leads to improvements in physical performance.