Role of Resistance Training in Mitigating Risk for Mobility Disability in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Published:April 30, 2022DOI:



      To examine the effects of community-based resistance training (RT) on physical function for older adults with mobility disability.

      Data Sources

      Four databases (PubM, PubMed, MEDLINE, Ovid, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, Web of Science) were searched from inception to February 2, 2021.

      Study Selection

      Randomized controlled trials that examined community-based RT for improving physical function in community-dwelling older adults were included.

      Data Extraction

      Two reviewers independently conducted title and abstract screening, full-text evaluation, data extraction, and risk of bias quality assessment.

      Data Synthesis

      Twenty-four studies (3656 participants; age range, 63-83 years) were included. RT programs ranged from 10 weeks to 18 months in duration. RT was more effective than control in improving 6-minute walk test distance (n=638; mean difference [MD], 16.1m; 95% CI, 12.27-19.94; P<.0001), lower extremity strength (n=785; standardized MD, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.27-2.75; P<.0001), and usual gait speed (n= 2106; MD, 0.05 m/s, 95% CI, 0.03-0.07; P<.001). In sensitivity analyses, benefits were maintained when studies with a high risk of bias were excluded. There was no effect of RT on fast gait speed or Short Physical Performance Battery score compared with control.


      RT improves walking distance, lower extremity strength, and usual gait speed in older adults with mobility disability. Improvements in physical function could increase independence in activities of daily living for this at-risk population.


      List of abbreviations:

      6MWT (6-minute walk test), MD (mean difference), RT (resistance training), SMD (standardized mean difference), SPPB (Short Physical Performance Battery)
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