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Kathleen Benjamin, Nancy C. Edwards and Virendra K. Bharti

For seniors, an inactive lifestyle can result in declines in mental and physical functioning, loss of independence, and poorer quality of life. This cross-sectional descriptive study examined theory-of-planned-behavior, health-status, and sociodemographic predictors on exercise intention and behavior among 109 older and physically frail adults. Significant predictors of being a high versus a low active were a strong intention to continue exercising, positive indirect attitudes about exercise, and having been advised by a doctor to exercise. Findings indicate that a strong intention to continue exercising differentiates between those who report low levels and those who report high levels of physical activity. The results also highlight the salience of physician’s advice for seniors to exercise.

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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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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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Lorraine J. Phillips and Marcia Flesner

This qualitative study investigated individual and situational factors influencing physical activity (PA) practices of elders in residential-care/assisted-living (RC/ AL) communities. This article describes the results of focus-group interviews involving 47 residents across 6 RC/AL settings. Thematic analysis revealed 6 themes: staying active, past PA experiences, value of PA, barriers to PA, strategies to facilitate PA, and support needs to promote PA. Staying active meant walking indoors and out, attending chair-exercise programs, performing professionally prescribed home exercises, and using available exercise equipment. Past PA experiences shaped current preferences and practices. Participants agreed that exercise helped maintain physical functioning but recounted cognitive and situational barriers to PA. Lack of dedicated exercise space and short corridors hampered efforts to stay active. Participants wished for individualized home exercise programs and supervised exercise sessions. Future research should examine the extent to which the physical environment and PA programming in RC/AL communities affect elders’ PA.

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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.

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Lisa M. Warner, Jochen P. Ziegelmann, Benjamin Schüz, Susanne Wurm and Ralf Schwarzer

The purpose of the current study was to examine whether the effects of social support on physical exercise in older adults depend on individual perceptions of self-efficacy. Three hundred nine older German adults (age 65–85) were assessed at 3 points in time (3 months apart). In hierarchical-regression analyses, support received from friends and exercise self-efficacy were specified as predictors of exercise frequency while baseline exercise, sex, age, and physical functioning were controlled for. Besides main effects of self-efficacy and social support, an interaction between social support and self-efficacy emerged. People with low self-efficacy were less likely to be active in spite of having social support. People with low support were less likely to be active even if they were high in self-efficacy. This points to the importance of both social support and self-efficacy and implies that these resources could be targets of interventions to increase older adults’ exercise.

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Corjena Cheung, Jean F. Wyman and Kay Savik

Yoga is beneficial for osteoarthritis (OA) management in older adults; however, adherence to yoga practice is unknown. The purposes of this secondary analysis were to examine: (1) yoga adherence during the intervention and follow-up periods; (2) the relationship between social cognitive theory (SCT) constructs and adherence; and (3) the impact of adherence on OA-related symptoms in 36 community-dwelling older women with knee OA. SCT was used as a framework to promote adherence to a yoga intervention program that included both group/home-based practices. Adherence to yoga was high during the intervention period but decreased over time. Although SCT was a useful framework for reducing attrition during the intervention, self-efficacy was the only construct that correlated with class attendance. Higher yoga adherence was correlated with improved symptoms, physical function, sleep quality, and quality of life. Yoga adherers were likely to be older, less educated, and had a lower body mass index than nonadherers.

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Dusa Marn-Vukadinovic and Helena Jamnik

Context:

Valid patient-based outcome instruments are necessary for comprehensive patient care that focuses on all aspects of health, from impairments to participation restrictions.

Objective:

To validate the Slovenian translation of Medical Outcome Survey (MOS) Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and to assess relations among various knee measurements, activity tested with Oxford Knee Score (OKS) and health-related quality of life as estimated with SF-36 domains.

Design:

Descriptive validation study.

Setting:

Isokinetic laboratory in outpatient rehabilitation unit.

Participants:

101 subjects after unilateral sport knee injury.

Interventions:

All subjects completed the SF-36 and OKS, and isokinetic knee-muscle strength output at 60°/s was determined in 78 participants. Within a 3-d period, 43 subjects completed the SF-36 and OKS questionnaires again.

Main Outcome Measures:

Reliability testing included internal consistency and test–retest reliability. Correlations between SF-36 subscales and OKS were calculated to assess construct validity, and correlation between SF-36 subscales and muscle strength was calculated to assess concurrent validity.

Results:

Chronbach α was above .78 for all SF-36 subscales. ICCs ranged from .80 to .93. The correlation between OKS and the physical-functioning subscale, showing convergent construct validity, was higher (r = .83, P < .01) than between OKS and mental health (r = .50, P < .01), showing divergent construct validity. Knee-extensor weakness negatively correlated with physical-functioning (r = −.59, P < .01) and social-functioning (r = −.43, P < .01) subscales.

Conclusions:

The Slovenian translation of the SF-36 is a reliable and valuable tool. The relationships between knee-muscle strength and activity and between knee-muscle strength and SF-36 subscales in patients after sport knee injury were established.

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Alison R. Snyder, Jessica C. Martinez, R. Curtis Bay, John T. Parsons, Eric L. Sauers and Tamara C. Valovich McLeod

Context:

Patient-oriented outcome measures such as the Medical Outcomes Short Form (SF-36) and the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI) are important tools for determining the impact of events like sport-related injury on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Unfortunately, there are no published studies using these instruments that compare adolescent athletes with their nonathlete peers, making interpretations of these measures in this population difficult.

Objective:

To compare HRQoL in adolescent athletes and nonathletes using 2 common instruments.

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Setting:

7 high schools.

Participants:

219 athletes and 106 nonathletes.

Intervention:

None.

Main Outcome Measures:

The SF-36 and the PODCI were completed in a counterbalanced manner during 1 session. Dependent variables included the 8 subscale and 2 composite scores of the SF-36 and the 5 subscale scores and 1 global score of the PODCI.

Results:

On the SF-36, athletes reported higher scores on the physical function, general health, social functioning, and mental health subscales and the mental composite score and lower scores on the bodily pain subscale than nonathletes. On the PODCI, athletes reported higher scores on the sport and physical function and happiness subscales and lower scores on the pain/comfort subscale.

Conclusions:

Athletes reported higher scores on a number of SF-36 and PODCI subscales related to mental, emotional, and physical well-being than nonathletes. Our findings suggest that athletic involvement may be a benefit to the overall health status of adolescents and imply that athletes may be a distinct adolescent group requiring their own normative values when using the SF-36 and PODCI.