Exercise Lifts Spirits of Frail Elderly Adults
Exercise, whether in the form of strength training, stretching or walking, can provide a much-needed emotional boost to frail, elderly men and women, say researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.
And this benefit comes without the cost of additional pain or discomfort.
More than 1,700 elderly adults, all of whom were frail and at risk of fall-related injuries, took part in exercise programs at four sites across the United States.
Activities focused on balance training, muscular strength and endurance exercises, and stretching.
Researchers discovered that participants experienced a marked improvement in emotional health overall and, specifically, in how they felt about themselves.
Lead researcher Dr. Kenneth B. Schectman was particularly encouraged by the fact that study subjects did not experience an increase in pain or discomfort as a result of participating in these activities.
This is significant given that many older adults live with painful conditions such as arthritis, which may make them wary of exercise. Even so, he cautions all older adults to consult with their physicians before beginning an exercise program.
Additional studies are planned to determine the optimal type, frequency and intensity of exercise needed to provide this emotional boost to this growing population.
Source: Annals of Behavioral Medicine,August 2001.
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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