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Anni Rava, Anu Pihlak, Jaan Ereline, Helena Gapeyeva, Tatjana Kums, Priit Purge, Jaak Jürimäe and Mati Pääsuke

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the differences in body composition, neuromuscular performance, and mobility in healthy, regularly exercising and inactive older women, and examine the relationship between skeletal muscle indices and mobility. Overall, 32 healthy older women participated. They were divided into groups according to their physical activity history as regularly exercising (n = 22) and inactive (n = 10) women. Body composition, hand grip strength, leg extensor muscle strength, rapid force development, power output, and mobility indices were assessed. Regularly exercising women had lower fat mass and higher values for leg extensor muscle strength and muscle quality, and also for mobility. Leg extensor muscle strength and power output during vertical jumping and appendicular lean mass per unit of body mass were associated with mobility in healthy older women. It was concluded that long-term regular exercising may have beneficial effects on body composition and physical function in older women.

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Jennifer J. Heisz and Ana Kovacevic

Age-related changes in the brain can compromise cognitive function. However, in some cases, the brain is able to functionally reorganize to compensate for some of this loss. The present paper reviews the benefits of exercise on executive functions in older adults and discusses a potential mechanism through which exercise may change the way the brain processes information for better cognitive outcomes. Specifically, older adults who are more physically active demonstrate a shift toward local neural processing that is associated with better executive functions. We discuss the use of neural complexity as a sensitive measure of the neural network plasticity that is enhanced through exercise. We conclude by highlighting the future work needed to improve exercise prescriptions that help older adults maintain their cognitive and physical functions for longer into their lifespan.

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Christopher A. Shields, David M. Paskevich and Lawrence R. Brawley

This article presents three studies representing the development stages of a theoretically driven measure employed to assess the frequency of use of the self-presentational strategy of self-handicapping in exercise contexts (Self-Handicapping Exercise Questionnaire: SHEQ). First a pilot study was conducted to examine the nature of the phenomenology of self-handicaps reported in exercise settings. Study 2 involved item creation, item trimming, and model confirmation. Study 3 concerned factorial validation, cross-validating the self-handicapping measure created in the second study. The outcome was a 20-item measure assessing self-handicapping claims in exercise. The results of both model-testing studies indicated three unique and stable factors addressing self-handicapping claims about making exercise a routine, training in an exercise facility, and healthy physical functioning. Self-handicapping responses were not moderated by gender, age, or exercise setting. Further use and development of the SHEQ is discussed.

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L. Jerome Brandon, Lisa W. Boyette, Adreinne Lloyd and Deborah A. Gaasch

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a 24-month moderate-intensity resistive-training intervention on strength and function in older adults. A repeated-measures experimental research design was employed as a sample of 55 apparently healthy, older, community-dwelling volunteers (30 exercisers—25 women and 5 men; 25 comparisons—16 women and 9 men) were evaluated for strength of 5 muscle groups that influence lower extremity movement and physical function. Strength and function were evaluated at 6-month intervals. The findings from this study indicate that a moderate-intensity resistive-training program increases strength in older adults and that the strength benefits are retained for the duration of the intervention. Furthermore, a long-term strength-training program can increase independent-function skills in older adults and might therefore aid in prolonging functional independence.

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Dori E. Rosenberg, Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Gregory J. Norman, Karen Calfas and Kevin Patrick

The authors tested the feasibility and acceptability, and explored the outcomes, of 2 walking interventions based on ecological models among older adults living in retirement communities. An enhanced intervention (EI) was compared with a standard walking intervention (SI) among residents in 4 retirement facilities (N = 87 at baseline; mean age = 84.1 yr). All participants received a walking intervention including pedometers, printed materials, and biweekly group sessions. EI participants also received phone counseling and environmental-awareness components. Measures included pedometer step counts, activities of daily living, environment-related variables, physical function, depression, cognitive function, satisfaction, and adherence. Results indicated improvements among the total sample for step counts, neighborhood barriers, cognitive function, and satisfaction with walking opportunities. Satisfaction and adherence were high. Both walking interventions were feasible to implement among facility-dwelling older adults. Future studies can build on this multilevel approach.

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Guillaume Lamotte, Elizabeth Skender, Miriam R. Rafferty, Fabian J. David, Steve Sadowsky and Daniel M. Corcos

Objective:

This paper reviews the therapeutically beneficial effects of progressive resistance exercise training (PRET) on motor and nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods:

First, we perform a systematic review of the literature on the effects of PRET on motor signs of PD, functional outcomes, quality of life, and patient perceived improvement, strength, and cognition in PD. Second, we perform a meta-analysis on the motor section of the UPDRS. Finally, we discuss the results of our review and we identify current knowledge gaps regarding PRET in PD.

Conclusion:

This systematic review synthesizes evidence that PRET can improve strength and motor signs of Parkinsonism in PD and may also be beneficial for physical function in individuals with PD. Further research is needed to explore the effects of PRET on nonmotor symptoms such as depression, cognitive impairment, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, and quality of life in individuals with PD.

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Jitka Jancova-Vseteckova, Martin Bobak, Ruzena Kubinova, Nada Capkova, Anne Peasey, Michael G. Marmot and Hynek Pikhart

Background:

The aim was to examine the association of objective measures of physical functioning (PF) with education and material circumstances and the decline in PF with age by socioeconomic position (SEP).

Methods:

In 3,205 subjects (60–75 years) from the Czech Republic, we assessed relationship between PF, SEP, and age. Linear regression was used to assess PF measures and SEP measures.

Results:

Cross-sectional decline in PF by age was similar in all individuals. Differences between SEP groups were similar across age groups, except for the difference in walk speed by material circumstances in men—bigger at older ages (p = .004). Men and women with the highest education were about 2 s faster at the chair rise test than those with the lowest education.

Discussion:

Findings suggest strong educational gradient in PF, an inconsistent role of self-assessed material circumstances, and virtually no interaction of SEP with the cross-sectional decline in PF by age.

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Chiung-ju Liu, Leah Y. Jones, Alyssa R. M. Formyduval and Daniel O. Clark

The purpose of this feasibility study was to evaluate the 3-Step Workout for Life program, a 10-week exercise program that included moderate-intensity muscle strength training followed by task-oriented training. Fourteen participants completed the program (mean age = 73 years; SD = 6.83). The Box and Block test (Z = −2.24, p = .03) and the 30-s chair stand test (Z = −2.21, p = .03) indicate improved physical functioning of the upper and lower extremities. More importantly, results of the function component from the Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument (Z = −2.04, p = .04) and motor skills scale from the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (Z = −2.97, p = .003) indicate subjective and objective improvements on performing activities of daily living. Supplementing moderate-intensity muscle strength exercise with taskoriented training components is feasible. Preliminary data support the effectiveness of 3-Step Workout for Life in reducing late-life disability.

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Yongwoo Lee, Wonjae Choi, Kyeongjin Lee, Changho Song and Seungwon Lee

Avatar-based three-dimensional technology is a new approach to improve physical function in older adults. The aim of this study was to use three-dimensional video gaming technology in virtual reality training to improve postural balance and lower extremity strength in a population of community-dwelling older adults. The experimental group participated in the virtual reality training program for 60 min, twice a week, for 6 weeks. Both experimental and control groups were given three times for falls prevention education at the first, third, and fifth weeks. The experimental group showed significant improvements not only in static and dynamic postural balance but also lower extremity strength (p < .05). Furthermore, the experimental group was improved to overall parameters compared with the control group (p < .05). Therefore, three-dimensional video gaming technology might be beneficial for improving postural balance and lower extremity strength in community-dwelling older adults.

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Justin W.L. Keogh, Andrew Kilding, Philippa Pidgeon, Linda Ashley and Dawn Gillis

Dancing is a mode of physical activity that may allow older adults to improve their physical function, health, and well-being. However, no reviews on the physical benefits of dancing for healthy older adults have been published in the scientific literature. Using relevant databases and keywords, 15 training and 3 cross-sectional studies that met the inclusion criteria were reviewed. Grade B–level evidence indicated that older adults can significantly improve their aerobic power, lower body muscle endurance, strength and flexibility, balance, agility, and gait through dancing. Grade C evidence suggested that dancing might improve older adults’ lower body bone-mineral content and muscle power, as well as reduce the prevalence of falls and cardiovascular health risks. Further research is, however, needed to determine the efficacy of different forms of dance, the relative effectiveness of these forms of dance compared with other exercise modes, and how best to engage older adults in dance participation.