Research Article  |   January 2014
Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise on Activities of Daily Living in People With Alzheimer’s Disease
Author Affiliations
  • Ashwini K. Rao, EdD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine (Program in Physical Therapy) and G. H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 710 West 168th Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10032; akr7@cumc.columbia.edu
  • Aileen Chou, Brett Bursley, Jaclyn Smulofsky, and Joel Jezequel are Students, Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine (Program in Physical Therapy), College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York
Article Information
Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia / Complementary/Alternative Approaches / Evidence-Based Practice / Neurologic Conditions / Special Issue on Effectiveness of Occupational Therapy—Related Interventions for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Research Article   |   January 2014
Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise on Activities of Daily Living in People With Alzheimer’s Disease
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2014, Vol. 68, 50-56. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009035
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2014, Vol. 68, 50-56. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009035
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) results in a loss of independence in activities of daily living (ADLs), which in turn affects the quality of life of affected people and places a burden on caretakers. Limited research has examined the influence of physical training (aerobic, balance, and strength training) on ADL performance of people with AD.

METHOD. Six randomized controlled trials (total of 446 participants) fit the inclusion criteria. For each study, we calculated effect sizes for primary and secondary outcomes.

RESULTS. Average effect size (95% confidence interval) for exercise on the primary outcome (ADL performance) was 0.80 (p < .001). Exercise had a moderate impact on the secondary outcome of physical function (effect size = 0.53, p = .004).

CONCLUSION. Occupational therapy intervention that includes aerobic and strengthening exercises may help improve independence in ADLs and improve physical performance in people with AD. Additional research is needed to identify specific components of intervention and optimal dosage to develop clinical guidelines.