Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Not having time to drive down to the gym to work out each day is a popular excuse, but being able to forgo that drive by just popping in a DVD is one way to counter it. A new study looked into how effective home-based DVD exercise programs are.
Researchers tested a home-based exercise program called FlexToBa (flex-toe-bah) aimed at improving flexibility, toning and balance in older adults, finding it to be an effective tool in getting healthy.
The team recruited 307 adults aged 65 and older, half of which who were asked to use the special fitness video at home, and the other who were asked to watch a different video about healthy aging.
The FlexToBa video included several hours of instruction presented over six sessions meant to encourage progressive exercise three times a week over six months. During the videos, the individuals faced new challenges each month helping to keep them engaged and encouraged to build on their achievements.
The participants in the trial were asked to complete daily exercise logs and receive short support telephone calls with exercise tips every other week for the first two months, and then every month.
At the end of the six-month trial, researchers found that those who stayed with the FlexToBa program saw “clinically important” improvements in scores on several tests of physical function, compared to those in the control group. The clinical tests included strength, balance and gait. FlexToBa participants also saw increases in their upper body strength and balance, and were able to maintain their previous level of lower body flexibility.
University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley, who led a new study, told redOrbit that people wanting to get into shape should set challenging but attainable goals.
“Doing anything is better than doing nothing and doing something is likely to give you confidence to do more. For older adults coupling aerobic activity (brisk walking) with activities that improve flexibility, strength and balance are likely to reap the greatest physical and mental health benefits,” McAuley said.
The study did not include a diet program because, McAuley said, their goal “was to determine whether we could deliver an exercise program that targeted flexibility, strength, and balance to older adults who typically would not be able to get access to center-based activity programs and to assess such a program´s effects on functional performance.”
He told redOrbit that working out at home not only allows people to cut out that travel time to the gym, but also allows them not to feel self-conscious about exercising due to being overweight or out of shape. McAuley added that working from home is good because “you can exercise whenever it is convenient for you to do so.”
With the hustle-and-bustle of an average working American’s lifestyle, in-home workout DVDs are becoming more-and-more popular. P90X, one at-home program, is extremely popular and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) set out last year to determine just how effective it was.
ACE found that the 90-day, bootcamp-style home exercise program meets or exceeds recognized standards for improving cardiorespiratory fitness.
“P90X is among the most popular of the high-intensity, interval-style home workout exercise programs sweeping the nation, many of which promise to help individuals burn high amounts of calories in a short period of time,” said ACE´s Chief Science Officer, Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “Our study results found P90X offers an effective workout, and, when combined with a sensible eating plan, we believe it can help many individuals achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals in the comfort of their homes.”