The effect of functional circuit training on self-reported fear of falling and health status in a group of physically frail older individuals: a randomized controlled trial

Maria Giné-Garriga, Míriam Guerra, Viswanath B. Unnithan

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aim

Physical frailty has been regarded as a precursor state to disability and dependence on others for daily activities. Frail individuals are considered to be the group of patients that presents the most complex and challenging problems to health care professionals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a 12-week functional circuit training program (FCT) could reduce self-reported fear of falling and improve health status in a group of physically frail community-dwelling older individuals.


Fifty-one individuals (31 F, 20 M), mean age (SD) 84 (2.9) years old, were considered frail and tested at week 0 and randomly assigned into two groups (intervention group, FCT = 26; control group, CG = 25). FCT underwent a structured 12-week FCT program, which focused on a combination of functional balance and lower-body strength-based exercises. CG met once a week for health education meetings. Measures of self-reported fear of falling (Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale) and health status (SF-12) were assessed at week 0, 12 and 36. All longitudinal analyses for continuous variables that were measured at the three time points (week 0, 12 and 36) were performed using linear mixed modeling.


FCT participants had greater improvements than those in the CG in fear of falling and self-reported physical function, physical composite score and mental composite score; these improvements were maintained in the week 36 follow-up, with significant group-by-time interactions by the end of the study.


These data indicate that a FCT program is effective in improving self-reported measures of fear of falling and health status in a group of physically frail individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-336
Number of pages8
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • frailty
  • circuit training
  • physical activity
  • fear of falling

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