The effects of 16-week group exercise program on physical function and mental health of elderly Korean women in long-term assisted living facility

Kiwol Sung
Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 2009, 24 (5): 344-51

AIMS: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 16-week group exercise program on the physical function (ie, strength, flexibility, and balance) and mental health (ie, self-esteem and depression) of older elderlyl women (>or=75 years old) compared with younger elderly women (<75 years old).

BACKGROUND: Exercise is crucial in maintaining older women's health and well-being. However, because most elders have at least one chronic disease, their physical function declines, so their dependence on others for instrumental daily living activities often increases. Older women typically have multiple barriers to participation in physical activities including higher disability rates.

METHOD: Of the total of 40 older women (older than 65 years) enrolled, 21 were older elders and 16 were younger elders. Lower body strength (using 30-second chair test), flexibility (sit-and-reach test), and static balance (ability to balance on one leg with open and closed eyes) were assessed. Self-esteem (using Rosenberg's Self-esteem Questionnaire) and depressive symptoms (using Yesavage's Geriatric Depression Scale) were assessed. Two-way analysis of variance was used to examine the differences between the 2 age groups.

FINDINGS: The intervention program was effective in improving body strength, flexibility, static balance, and self-esteem, regardless of age. Furthermore, older elders receiving the intervention program demonstrated greater improvement in self-esteem than younger elders did, although there were intervention effects in both age groups.

CONCLUSION: Elderly women can realize benefits from a group exercise program that can improve their functional ability and self-esteem, both important to cardiovascular health.


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