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  • Author: Denise M. Connelly x
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Melissa E. Hay and Denise M. Connelly

Physical inactivity and chronic back pain are prevalent among older adults; however, there are individuals who persist in exercising despite daily pain. This research explored the meaning of exercise in the lives of older adults with chronic back pain. Hermeneutic phenomenology, valuing everyday experiences and highlighting meaning, was employed. Individual in-depth interviews with 10 adults aged 65 years and older gathered rich descriptions of their experiences. Data collection and analyses were iterative processes. The experience of exercise was inextricably connected with older adults’ chronic back pain. The essence of embodied relief from pain offered by exercise was considered through themes reflecting the restoration of existential coherence—enjoying exercise experiences, social engagement, gratitude, learned latitudes, maintaining mobility, and aging. Understanding that older adults can live in their bodies pain-free for some time with regular physical activity may endorse adherence to exercise participation for maintained or improved well-being.

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Marissa E. Mendelsohn, Denise M. Connelly, Tom J. Overend and Robert J. Petrella

Although popular in clinical settings, little is known about the utility of all-extremity semirecumbent exercise machines for research. Twenty-one community-dwelling older adults performed two exercise trials (three 4-min stages at increasing workloads) to evaluate the reliability and validity of exercise responses to submaximal all-extremity semirecumbent exercise (BioStep). Exercise responses were measured directly (Cosmed K4b2) and indirectly through software on the BioStep. Test–retest reliability (ICC2,1) was moderate to high across all three stages for directly measured METs (.92, .87, and .88) and HR (.91, .83, and .86). Concurrent criterion validity between the K4b2 and BioStep MET values was moderate to very good across the three stages on both Day 1 (r = .86, .71, and .83) and Day 2 (r = .73, .87, and .72). All-extremity semirecumbent submaximal exercise elicited reliable and valid responses in our sample of older adults and thus can be considered a viable exercise mode.