Date of Award

1-1-2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Fiona Naumann

Abstract

Aging is characterised by a decline in physiological function. The rate of this decline can depend on certain lifestyle factors, genetics, and the environment. Although life expectancy is slowly increasing, there is a need to reduce the time spent in debilitated, and non-independent states by elderly individuals. Preventive measures need to be implemented to reduce dependency and improve the quality of life for elderly individuals. One such preventive and remedial measure is the use of exercise and physical activity. Because limited exercise prescription exists for the elderly population, there is a need to determine the effectiveness of exercise interventions that are more desirable for elderly individuals. Hence, the purpose of this pilot study was to implement and compare two types of exercise interventions, a holistic exercise intervention (Range of Motion Dance method or ROM) and a Conventional Exercise intervention commonly performed in the community by aged individuals. Forty-three elderly individuals over 65-years of age were randomly allocated to the two intervention groups and a control group. The exercise interventions were performed for 10-weeks and included baseline and post-intervention testing. The groups were compared using Analysis of Covariance on the following variables; muscular strength (grip strength, isokinetic knee flexion and extension); postural stability (Berg Balance Scale, and Center of Pressure): and functionality (Timed 'up' and 'go' and Physical Performance Test). T-tests were performed to compare the two intervention groups on attrition and compliance. The Conventional Exercise and the ROM exercise groups generally showed similar results on all physiological parameters when compared to each other. However, some statistically significant differences were observed between the intervention groups and the control group for isokinetic knee flexor and extensor strength, grip strength and the Physical Performance Test. Mean differences between post-intervention and baseline results for knee extensor and flexor strength measures ranged between 0.97 to 5.78 Newton meters for the Conventional Exercise group; -6.00 to 5.73 Newton meters for' the ROM group and; 8.74 to 5.36 Newton meters for the Control group. Both intervention groups showed improvement of approximately 1.5 units for the Physical Performance Test, while the Control group showed no change. No statistically significant differences were found between the groups for any balance measures or for the Timed "Up" and "Go". The two interventions groups showed similar average attendance rates, with 85.4% of sessions performed by the Conventional Exercise group and 88.9% of sessions performed by the ROM group. The performance of low-intensity exercise intervention, of either a conventional or holistic nature, may provide positive physiological benefits for elderly participants, such as maintaining or improving knee flexor and extensor strength and enhancing functionality. Thus this study provides evidence that low-intensity exercise interventions in the short term can cause physiological change while at the same time maintaining relatively high rates of participation.

Included in

Geriatrics Commons

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