The effects of community-based exercise on the physical function of older adult women
Mason, Robert Christopher
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Introduction. A key component in preserving mobility and independence in later years is maintaining the fitness capacity needed to perform normal everyday activities such as lifting and carrying objects, climbing stairs, getting in and out of transportation vehicles, and walking far enough to do one’s own shopping and errands (Paterson & Warburton, 2010). Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to determine any differential effects of exercise on the physical fitness of older adults with different levels of physical function. The secondary aim was to observe and compare the exercise habits of these functionally diverse older adult women. Specifically, the amount of time spent exercising was considered in relation to levels of physical fitness. Methods. A convenience sample of 30 women (n = 30, mage = 69 years) recruited from the YWCO in Athens, Georgia completed participation in this study. Two groups of participants (high n=13, mod/low n=17) were formed according to their physical ability to live independently as determined by the Composite Physical Function (CPF) scale for the first study. Two groups (n=15 and n=15) were formed according to the amount of time they spent engaged in exercise for the second study. Results. Study 1 The results of the 3 X 2 mixed ANOVA statistical analysis showed no significant interaction effect for time*group for any of the six subtests (chair stand, arm curls, 2-min step, chair sit &reach, back scratch, and 6-ft up & go) of the SFT. Study 2 Statistical analysis showed a significant interaction effect for time*group for the 8-foot Up & Go test. Conclusions. Community-based exercise programs offering a variety of exercise types to people with varying levels of functional ability, can be useful in maintaining or improving fitness and independence. Second, these programs may also be capable of improving the self-efficacy of lower functioning older adults toward performing daily tasks. Additionally, self-report instruments such as activity logs may be useful to track and gain an understanding of the exercise habits of older adults.