Objectives: This research aims to validate the Healthy Beat Acupunch (HBA) exercise program, determine the feasibility of the HBA exercise program protocol and gain an understanding of the effects on well-being for older adults with sarcopenia. Design,
Setting & Intervention: Validation of the HBA exercise program was conducted using two rounds of Delphi communication among eight experts. A one-group, pre-post experimental study was conducted with 17 older adults with probable sarcopenia and/or low gait speed at an Australian retirement village. The HBA exercise program lasted 40 min per session, three sessions per week for four weeks.
Outcome Measures: Muscle mass, muscle strength, gait speed and health-related quality of life were assessed before and after the intervention. The HBA exercise program was evaluated via a questionnaire and individual interviews.
Results: Experts validated the HBA exercise program and deemed it to be simple, safe, suitable and helpful for practice by older adults with sarcopenia. Participants enjoyed the HBA exercise program, planned to continue and would recommend to friends. Frequency, duration and size of the exercise class were appropriate, and they appreciated the trainer's support and directions when mastering the exercise motions. Improvement in participants’ gait speed was found post-exercise intervention (p<.005).
Conclusion: The HBA exercise program is appropriate for practice by older adults, particularly those with reduced physical capacity and probable sarcopenia with possible benefits of improved gait speed. Future studies need to consider and overcome the limitations (i.e. study design, sample size) and challenge (participant recruitment) encountered in this research.