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Exercise improves independence and quality of life in seniors

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Nurses can promote exercise in patients to reduce social isolation, increase independence and improve quality of life

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A double blind peer review measured the effectiveness of a 12-week exercise intervention in reducing the health risks associated with physical decline in people aged 60 and older.

This new research involved 42 participants aged 60 older with a variety of physical and mental health conditions, including arthritis, dementia, and high cholesterol.

For the study 25 participants were assigned to the intervention group and 17 to the comparison group. Both groups undertook the Senior Fitness Test at baseline, 12 weeks, six months and 12 months. The Senior Fitness Test uses an array of test items that assess the functional fitness of older adults. Focus groups were conducted with both groups at 12 weeks and then again with the intervention group at 12 months.

Those in the intervention group reported improved health and well being as a result of attending the 12-week program and maintained their exercise levels for up to 12 months afterwards. They also reported quick strength and power gains.

The results showed fitness increased significantly (P>0.001) after 12 weeks of exercise in the intervention group. Results demonstrated significant difference between intervention and comparison groups’ fitness at six months (P>0.01) and 12 months (P>0.001)

Participants stated their knowledge about exercise and its benefits had increased since taking part in the program.

Focus groups supported the results, suggesting exercise increased independence and quality of life.

The researchers write “Nurses can promote exercise in patients to reduce social isolation, increase independence and improve quality of life. The findings from this study may be useful during the development of community services for older adults.”

This study appears in Nursing Older People.

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