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Objectives: Older adults with impaired physical function are at risk for further functional decline in part due to limited ability to engage in regular exercise. Effective approaches to exercise in this vulnerable population are needed to improve functional capacity and optimize independence.

Methods: Thirty-two residential care apartment complex (RCAC) residents, age ≥70, with low short physical performance battery (SPPB) scores were recruited and randomly assigned to a crossover-design study exploring feasibility and safety of semi-recumbent vibration exercise in older adults living in one RCAC. The primary outcomes were retention and adherence rates and adverse events.

Results: The retention rate was 78%. Adherence rate was 79.7% and 78.6% during the vibration and control training sessions, respectively. Thirty-eight adverse events (AEs) occurred. Mild muscle soreness and knee pain were the only AEs related to vibration exercise. No serious adverse events (SAEs) were study-related. Participants were able to increase training intensity and load and rated the training enjoyable.

Conclusion: Semi-recumbent vibration exercise was feasible, well tolerated, and safe in RCAC residents with reduced physical function. Future studies need to examine the effect of this type of exercise on physical function, mobility, falls, and quality of life.

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