Task-specific, chair-based exercise is safe and effective for nursing home residents, according to an analysis of recent studies.

The authors vetted 10 studies involving a total of 551 people with a mean age of 79. The exercise programs differed in size and training type. They included multicomponent exercises (such as yoga, qigong, breathing exercise and range-of-motion) and varying exercise frequency, including length of session and program. 

The evidence showed that participants experienced task-specific improvements in physical and cognitive functions, and enhanced well-being, reported Bettina Wollesen, Ph.D., of the University of Hamburg, Germany, and colleagues. Three studies demonstrated improved lower body performance in a group of physically mobile residents who completed a multicomponent program. Other studies reported improved physical functioning in residents unable to walk. 

“The results indicate that chair-based exercise interventions may improve physical and cognitive functions as well as well-being in nursing home residents,” the authors wrote. “Task-specific multicomponent chair-based exercise appears to be best for improving different domains of physical and cognitive functioning,” they concluded.

The study was published Tuesday in JAMDA.