Publish By:Peter Vermeiren
The Amsterdam workshop (24th – 26th April) was the third workshop in a series of workshops (workshop #1 Stuttgart, workshop #2 Bologna) focusing on the development of the adapted Lifestyle-integrated Functional Exercise Programme (aLiFE). The aLiFE development and related workshops were coordinated by Work Package 4 (RBK Stuttgart). The aLiFE programme has been adapted to the PreventIT target populations of young older adults aged 60-70. The Amsterdam workshop focused on teaching aLiFE trainers and assessors for a pilot study aiming to evaluate the new aLiFE programme. RBK taught the components of the aLiFE programme including a new exercise framework focusing on challenging balance and strength exercises, specific agility tasks, multi-task exercises, and a standardized assessment tool for assessing baseline performance and tailoring the exercises according to the capacity of the participant. Another innovation of the aLiFE programme is a standardised approach for increasing a participant’s PA level. Workshop attendees learned how to administer the aLiFE programme within the 4-week pilot study by using a newly developed trainers and participants manual. The workshop included teaching of theoretical knowledge and practical skills for the aLiFE trainers. The aLiFE programme is a behavioural change exercise programme. This implies that the new aLiFE exercises are included in activities and movements which are part of daily routine. This concept is different compared to a traditional exercise programme. The long term goal of aLiFE is that the new exercises become habitual. Principles for how to change habits and how to change behaviour were therefore another focus of the workshop. Furthermore, a motor assessment battery consisting of challenging tests was taught to the assessors of the aLiFE pilot study.
During the workshop, we managed to go through the complete aLiFE teaching procedure and performance-based testing, and we really look forward to starting the aLiFE pilot study. The main goal of the aLiFE pilot study is to evaluate whether the adapted components of the aLiFE programme including the exercise framework, manuals, and assessment tool are appropriate for the target population of PreventIT (young older adults). After the aLiFE study, we will be able to judge whether we need to further modify the aLiFE exercise paradigm, manuals, and assessment. Apart from practicing the aLiFE intervention and gaining experience on the tests, the workshop provided good opportunities to discuss all procedures in detail and ensure that the pilot will be implemented similarly across the three study sites. The “Preventers” hope to include 30 participants into the aLiFE pilot study which will be conducted in Stuttgart, Amsterdam, and Trondheim. We hope that the participants will provide extensive feedback about the aLiFE programme in order to adapt the programme components and exercises to target populations as best as possible.