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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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Kristin Musselman and Brenda Brouwer

This study examined gender differences in balance, gait, and muscle performance in seniors and identified gender-specific factors contributing to physical performance. Forty (20 men, 20 women) healthy, community-dwelling seniors (74.5 ± 5.3 years) participated. Limits of stability, gait speed, lower limb flexor and extensor isokinetic concentric peak torques, self-reported activity level, and balance confidence were measured. No gender differences were detected in gait speed, limits of stability when normalized to height, activity level, or balance confidence (p ≥ .188). Women were weaker than men (p ≤ .007), even after controlling for weight and body-mass index, suggesting that other gender-related factors contribute to strength. Gender accounted for 18–46% of the variance in strength and served as a modifier of the relationship between activity level and strength in some muscle groups. The primary factors relating to gender-specific strength was activity level in men and body weight in women.

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Minna Rasinaho, Mirja Hirvensalo, Raija Leinonen, Taru Lintunen and Taina Rantanen

The purpose of this study was to investigate what older adults with severe, moderate, or no mobility limitation consider motives for and barriers to engaging in physical exercise. Community-dwelling adults (N = 645) age 75–81 years completed a questionnaire about their motives for and barriers to physical exercise and answered interview questions on mobility limitation. Those with severely limited mobility more often reported poor health, fear and negative experiences, lack of company, and an unsuitable environment as barriers to exercise than did those with no mobility limitation. They also accentuated disease management as a motive for exercise, whereas those with no or moderate mobility limitation emphasized health promotion and positive experiences related to exercise. Information about differences in motives for and barriers to exercise among people with and without mobility limitation helps tailor support systems that support engagement in physical activity among older adults.

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Po-Wen Ku, Jim McKenna and Kenneth R. Fox

Subjective well-being (SWB) and its relationship with physical activity have not been systematically investigated in older Chinese people. This study explored these issues using qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of 23 community-dwelling Chinese older adults (age 55–78 y, 12 women); 16 were physically active and 7 physically inactive. Using cross-case analyses, 7 dimensions of SWB emerged: physical, psychological, developmental, material, spiritual, sociopolitical, and social. Although elements of SWB may be shared across cultures, specific distinctions were identified. Active respondents reported the unique contributions of physical activity to the physical, psychological, developmental, and social elements of SWB. The findings suggest that physical activity could enhance the quality of life in Chinese older adults.

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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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Cheryl Der Ananian, Sara Wilcox, Ken Watkins, Ruth P. Saunders and Alexandra E. Evans

Most people with arthritis are not regularly active. Understanding what factors influence exercise is essential for designing programs to increase participation. The objective of this study was to examine the correlates of exercise in people with arthritis. Using a cross-sectional design, sociodemographic, health-related, and psychosocial variables were collected from community-dwelling individuals with arthritis (N = 141). Associations with exercise level were examined with bivariate statistics (ANOVAs, chi-squares) and logistic-regression analyses. Exercisers were less likely than nonexercisers and insufficiently active people to report that arthritis negatively affected their physical and social functioning, and they reported more positive affect and greater self-efficacy (p < .05). Exercisers also reported less pain than nonexercisers (p < .05). In multiple logistic-regression analyses, self-efficacy and physical limitations remained independent predictors of exercise. The results suggest the need to target exercise self-efficacy when designing exercise interventions. Results also suggest the need to tailor exercise programs to individuals’ physical limitations.

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Joe R. Nocera, Keith M. McGregor, Chris J. Hass and Bruce Crosson

Studies suggest improvements of neurocognitive function among older adults who undergo aerobic exercise training. This study sought to examine the impact of an aerobic exercise intervention on verbal fluency in sedentary older adults. Twenty community-dwelling older adults were recruited and enrolled in either a spin exercise group or a control condition. Participants were evaluated with an estimated V02max test and on measures of letter, category, and switching verbal fluency both before and after a 12-week intervention period. Spin exercise resulted in a significant improvement in category (semantic) verbal fluency when compared with the control group (15% vs. 2% increase, respectively; P = .001). Spin exercise also resulted in a significant improvement in estimated V02max (P = .005). Also important, the spin exercise group demonstrated a high level of adherence (mean adherence = 82.5%). Spin exercise can be an effective mode of aerobic exercise to improve semantic fluency in previously sedentary older adults.

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Kristin Taraldsen, Beatrix Vereijken, Pernille Thingstad, Olav Sletvold and Jorunn L. Helbostad

The aim of the study was to investigate the precision of estimated upright time during one week in community-dwelling older adults after hip fracture when monitoring activity for different numbers of consecutive days. Information about upright time was collected by thigh-worn accelerometers during 7 consecutive days in 31 older adults (mean age 81.8 years ± 5.3) 3 months after hip-fracture surgery. Mean time in upright position, including both standing and walking, was 260.9 (±151.2) min/day. A cutoff value of half an hour was used to provide recommendations about number of recording days. Large variability between participants between days, as well as a nonconstant within-participant variability between days indicates that at least 4 consecutive days of recording should be used to obtain a reliable estimate of upright time for individual persons. However, at a group level, one day of recording is sufficient.

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Christine B. Phillips, Jerri D. Edwards, Ross Andel and Marcus Kilpatrick

Physical activity (PA) is believed to preserve cognitive function in older adulthood, though little is known about these relationships within the context of daily life. The present microlongitudinal pilot study explored within- and between-person relationships between daily PA and cognitive function and also examined within-person effect sizes in a sample of community-dwelling older adults. Fifty-one healthy participants (mean age = 70.1 years) wore an accelerometer and completed a cognitive assessment battery for five days. There were no significant associations between cognitive task performance and participants’ daily or average PA over the study period. Effect size estimates indicated that PA explained 0–24% of within-person variability in cognitive function, depending on cognitive task and PA dose. Results indicate that PA may have near-term cognitive effects and should be explored as a possible strategy to enhance older adults’ ability to perform cognitively complex activities within the context of daily living.

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Sharon L. Olson, Shu-Shi Chen and Ching-Yi Wang

Objective:

To determine exercise efficacy in improving dynamic balance in community-dwelling elderly with a fall history.

Methods:

Thirty-five participants were randomly assigned to a treatment (TG; n = 19, 77 ± 7 yr) or control group (CG; n = 16, 75 ± 8 yr). The TG received an individualized home exercise program, and the CG received phone calls twice per week for 12 weeks. Participants’ dynamic-balance abilities— directional control (DC), endpoint excursion (EE), maximum excursion (ME), reaction time (RT), and movement velocity (MV)—were measured using the Balance Master at 75% limits of stability. Functional reach (FR) was also measured.

Results:

At 12 weeks the TG demonstrated significant improvements in DC (p < .0025), EE (p < .0005), and ME (p < .0005), but the CG did not. No significant group differences were found for MV, RT, or FR.

Conclusions:

Excursion distances and directional control improved but not reaction time, suggesting that exercises requiring quick responses may be needed.