Maintaining physical fitness and function in Alzheimer's disease: A pilot study

Fang Yu, Kay Savik, Jean F Wyman, Ulf G Bronas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Little is known about how aerobic exercise affects physical functioning in persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Methods: This pilot study used a 1-group repeated measures design to examine the feasibility and impact of a 6-month individualized moderate intensity cycling intervention on cardiorespiratory fitness and lower extremity function in 8 participants aged 81.4 ± 3.58. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using the shuttle walk and modified YMCA cycle ergometer tests, and lower extremity function was measured using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) at baseline, 3 months and 6 months. Results: The YMCA test showed a significant reduction in heart rate at stage 2 (103.4 vs 90.9 vs 91.6; P =.01), while no significant changes were observed in the shuttle walk and SPPB tests. Conclusions: Persons with AD are able to improve cardiorespiratory conditioning from aerobic exercise. Randomized, controlled trials are needed to confirm these findings. Implications for future research are detailed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-412
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • aging
  • cardiorespiratory fitness
  • dementia
  • exercise
  • physical activity
  • physical function


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