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  • Author: Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae x
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Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, Kathryn A. Newell, Rise Cherin, Martin J. Lee, Abby C. King and William L. Haskell

Objective:

To compare the effects of Tai Chi (TC, n = 37) and Western exercise (WE, n = 39) with an attention-control group (C, n = 56) on physical and cognitive functioning in healthy adults age 69 ± 5.8 yr, in a 2-phase randomized trial.

Methods:

TC and WE involved combined class and home-based protocols. Physical functioning included balance, strength, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory endurance. Cognitive functioning included semantic fluency and digit-span tests. Data were analyzed using intention-to-treat analysis.

Results:

At 6 mo, WE had greater improvements in upper body flexibility (F = 4.67, p = .01) than TC and C. TC had greater improvements in balance (F = 3.36, p = .04) and a cognitive-function measure (F = 7.75, p < .001) than WE and C. The differential cognitive-function improvements observed in TC were maintained through 12 mo.

Conclusion:

The TC and WE interventions resulted in differential improvements in physical functioning among generally healthy older adults. TC led to improvement in an indicator of cognitive functioning that was maintained through 12 mo.

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Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, Joan M. Fair, William L. Haskell, Ann N. Varady, Carlos Iribarren, Mark A. Hlatky, Alan S. Go and Stephen P. Fortmann

Background:

This study examined the construct validity and reliability of the new 2-item Stanford Brief Activity Survey (SBAS).

Methods:

Secondary analysis was conducted using data collected from the healthy older controls (n = 1023) enrolled in the Atherosclerotic Disease Vascular Function and Genetic Epidemiology (ADVANCE) study. Construct validity was examined by regression analyses to evaluate significant trends (P ≤ .05) across the SBAS activity categories for the selected psychological health factors measured at baseline and year 2, adjusted for gender, ethnicity and education level. Test-retest reliability was performed using Spearman’s rank correlation.

Results:

At baseline, subjects were 66 ± 2.8 years old, 38% female, 77% married, 61% retired, 24% college graduate, and 68% Caucasian. At baseline, lower self-reported stress, anxiety, depression, and cynical distrust, and higher self-reported mental and physical well-being were significantly associated with higher levels of physical activity (p trend ≤ 0.01). These associations held at year 2. The test-retest reliability of the SBAS was statistically significant (rs= 0.62, P < .001).

Conclusion:

These results provide evidence of the construct validity and reliability of the SBAS in older adults. We also found a strong dose-response relationship between regular physical activity and psychological health in older adults, independent of gender, education level and ethnicity.