Interventions for promoting mobility in community-dwelling older adults

Hye A. Yeom, Colleen Keller, Julie Fleury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purposes of this review were to provide an updated report of intervention studies designed to enhance mobility in older adults and discuss the strengths and limitations of existing intervention studies and their implications for practice. Data sources: Medline, CINAHL, and PsychInfo were searched to identify original research articles reporting interventions for promoting mobility in community-dwelling older adults. Conclusion Effective interventions for enhancing mobility in older adults include walking, aerobic exercise, and resistance training focusing on strength, balance, and flexibility. Group-based interventions show significant beneficial effects in increasing mobility. To obtain significant effects of physical activity interventions, the patient should participate in the exercise programs for at least 12 weeks. Strengths of existing clinical trials for promoting mobility in older adults include testing of various types of physical activity and training interventions and the use of an experimental design with a control group. The major challenges of creating mobility enhancement recommendations for older adults include detailing a mobility enhancement program will delay disability, creating a specific program dose for different populations by gender and ethnicity, and developing culturally appropriate mobility enhancement programs to improve adherence over time. Implications for practice Prescribing regular physical activity including aerobic exercise and resistance training in a primary care setting can be a beneficial approach to minimize progression of impaired mobility in older adults. The typical dose of the physical activity prescription is 20-60 min of aerobic activity three times weekly. Adherence to mobility enhancement recommendations by older patients can be followed up by in-person interview or use of mobility monitoring tools such as exercise diary or log.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Interventions
  • Mobility
  • Older adults
  • Physical activity
  • Resistance training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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