The effects of low-impact moderate-intensity stepping exercise on fatigue and other functional outcomes in older adults with multimorbidity: a randomized controlled trial

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

Key Points

  1. Among older adults with multimorbidity, low-impact stepping exercise lowers fatigue.
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Approximately one-quarter of community-dwelling older adults experience multimorbidity (1), defined as the coexistence of two or more chronic diseases. Most individuals with multimorbidity complain of fatigue, defined as overwhelming but non-specific physical and/or mental exhaustion that is disproportionate to an individual's level of physical exertion (2). Individuals who experience fatigue are less likely to participate in physical activity which can lead to the vicious cyclic relationship pictured in Figure 1 (2).


Little attention has been paid to addressing and managing fatigue in older adults with multimorbidity. The primary objective of this study was to examine the effects of a group-based, low-impact, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise program on fatigue in community-dwelling older adults with multimorbidity. The secondary objective was to examine its impact on frailty, physical activity level, exercise tolerance capacity, and mood.

Approximately one-quarter of community-dwelling older adults experience multimorbidity.
This intervention is recommended for patients with multimorbidity who struggle with fatigue, especially if fatigue is a physical activity or exercise participation barrier.


Design: Multi-site randomized trial

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