Lisa M Roberts,1,2 Byron C Jaeger,3 Liliana C Baptista,1,2 Sara A Harper,1,2 Anna K Gardner,4 Elizabeth A Jackson,5 Dorothy Pekmezi,6 Bhanuprasad Sandesara,4 Todd M Manini,4 Stephen D Anton,4 Thomas W Buford1,2

1Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology/Geriatrics/Palliative Care, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA; 2Center for Exercise Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA; 3Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA; 4Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 5Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Disease, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA; 6Department of Health Behavior, School of Public Health, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

Correspondence: Thomas W Buford
Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology/Geriatrics/Palliative Care, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1313 13th Street S., Birmingham, AL 35205, USA
Tel +1 205 996 3008
Fax +1 205 996 3110
Email twbuford@uabmc.edu

Background: Physical exercise is associated with decreased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, but recent large-scale trials suggest that exercise alone is insufficient to reduce CVD events in high-risk older adults.
Purpose: This pilot randomized clinical trial aimed to collect critical data on feasibility, safety, and protocol integrity necessary to design a fully powered randomized controlled trial (RCT) and evaluate the impact of combining structured exercise with an intervention designed to enhance non-exercise physical activity (EX+NEPA) compared to EX alone.
Methods: Forty participants aged ≥60 years with moderate-to-high risk of coronary heart disease events were randomly assigned to either the EX+NEPA or EX groups and followed for 20 weeks. Both groups underwent a twice-weekly, 8-week center-based exercise intervention with aerobic and resistance exercises. EX+NEPA group also received a wearable activity tracking device along with behavioral monitoring and feedback throughout the study. Study outcomes were evaluated at 8 and 20 weeks.
Results: Data are presented as adjusted mean change of the differences over time with 95% confidence intervals at 20 weeks. Relative to EX, the change in steps/day at 20 weeks was 1994 (−40.27, 4028) higher for EX+NEPA. For sedentary time at close-out, the EX+NEPA group was −6.8 (−45.2, 31.6) min/day relative to EX. The between-group differences for systolic and diastolic blood pressure were −9.9 (−19.6, −0.3) and −1.8 (−6.9, 3.3) mmHg, respectively.
Conclusion: The addition of wearable technology intervention appeared to positively influence daily activity patterns and changes in blood pressure – potentially improving risk factors for CVD. A fully powered randomized trial is needed to ultimately test this hypothesis.

Keywords: aging, cardiovascular, exercise, physical activity, activity monitor


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