Effects of Exercise on Health-Related Quality of Life and Fear of Falling in Home-Dwelling Older Women

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This randomized, controlled trial evaluated the effects of exercise on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and fear of falling (FoF) among 149 home-dwelling older women. The 12-mo exercise program was intended to reduce the risk of falls and fractures. HRQoL was assessed by the RAND-36 Survey, and FoF, with a visual analog scale, at baseline, 12 mo, and 24 mo. On all RAND-36 scales, the scores indicated better health and well-being. The exercise had hardly any effect on HRQoL; only the general health score improved slightly compared with controls at 12 mo (p = .019), but this gain was lost at 24 mo. FoF decreased in both groups during the intervention with no between-groups difference at 12 or 24 mo. In conclusion, despite beneficial physiological changes, the exercise intervention showed rather limited effects on HRQoL and FoF among relatively high-functioning older women. This modest result may be partly because of insufficient responsiveness of the assessment instruments used.

Karinkanta, Nupponen, Pasanen, Sievänen, Uusi-Rasi, and Kannus are with the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland. Heinonen is with the Dept. of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Fogelholm is with the Academy of Finland, Helsinki, Finland.