Enhancing Physical and Psychosocial Health of Older Adults in Saudi Arabia through Walking: Comparison between Supervised Group-Based and Non-Supervised Individual-Based Walking




Karmakar, Palash
Wong, Ming-Yu (Claudia)
AlMarzooqi, Mezna A.
Alghamdi, Nouf
Ou, Kailing
Duan, Yanping
Rhodes, Ryan E.
Zhang, Chun-Qing

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European Journal of Investigation in Health Psychology and Education


Walking is widely recognized as one of the most common and effective forms of physical activity, particularly for older adults. This study examined the comparative effects of two types of walking interventions, including supervised group-based intervention (SGBI) and non-supervised individual-based intervention (NSIBI), on frailty syndrome, cognitive functions or skills, and health-related quality of life among sedentary older Saudi individuals. A 15-week double-blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT) including three groups (two were intervention groups while the other was the control group) was conducted among older adults who were inactive to examine the effect of different forms of walking interventions on frailty syndrome, cognitive functions, and health-related quality of life. A total of 107 participants, including 65 males and 42 females, were divided into three groups, which include SGBI, NSIBI, and the control group. Frailty syndrome was measured using the physical performance test (PPT), while cognitive function and health-related quality of life were assessed using the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Short Form 36 (SF 36) health survey questionnaire. One-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) and one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with the pre- and post-tests were performed for within- and between-group differences. while post-test data for the control group participants were absent due to the change in elderly center regulation, and they were excluded from the analysis. Hence, the comparison was stated only between the intervention groups. Both of the intervention groups (SGBI and NSIBI) showed significant within-subject differences in the Physical Function subscale of the health-related quality of life scale only, with F(1,20) = 23.03, p < 0.001, and F(1,18) = 27.22, p < 0.001, respectively. On the other hand, the Physical Performance Test revealed significant [F(2,51) = 9.21, p < 0.001] between-group differences in the post-test based on the baseline values. In addition, the average step count of older adults was increased from 4000 steps per session to around 7000 steps per session in the intervention group. The average heart rate of the NSIBI group did not show a visible change, and the resting heart rate of both groups showed a slightly declining trend throughout the intervention period. The walking intervention significantly increased participants’ physical function, which is a component of health-related quality of life and physical performance (frailty level), along with average daily step counts for older adults in Saudi Arabia. Regular engagement in the recommended level of walking is strongly advisable for Saudi Arabian older adults to maintain their overall quality of life at this stage.



walking intervention, older adults, frailty syndrome, cognitive skill, quality of life, Saudi Arabia


Karmakar, P., Wong, M.-Y. (Claudia), AlMarzooqi, M. A., Alghamdi, N., Ou, K., Duan, Y., Rhodes, R. E., & Zhang, C.-Q. (2023). Enhancing physical and psychosocial health of older adults in Saudi Arabia through walking: Comparison between supervised group-based and non-supervised individual-based walking. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education, 13(11), 2342–2357. https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe13110165