Every time I read about research on the benefits of exercise, I become eager to go outside and run. (Or, realistically, take a pleasant walk.) But before I do that today, I wanted to share a study showing that participating in an exercise program led to a decrease in pain from arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, as well as an improvement in mobility and overall health, among a group of older adults.
The research, which was presented today at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Boston, involved 119 adults of Asian descent - most of them female and age 65 or older - living in New York City. Participants took part in multiple eight-week yoga exercise classes and sessions of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program between 2011 and 2013. The community-based classes were conducted by the Hospital for Special Surgery's Asian Community Bone Health Initiative using bilingual instructors at senior centers in the Chinatown, Flushing and Queens neighborhoods.
A release explained why the researchers focused on Asian adults:
The Asian older adult population in New York City grew by 64 percent from 2000 to 2010, and one in four seniors lived in poverty in 2010. "This population is at risk for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis," said Laura Robbins, DSW, senior vice president of Education and Academic Affairs at HSS. "They are more than twice as likely to have no health insurance coverage compared to other major race and ethnic groups. Cultural and linguistic barriers limit access to healthcare services."
And as for results:
In the survey, many participants reported that their pain intensity dropped and interfered less with their quality of life. The following statistically significant results are noteworthy:
- 48% fewer participants had pain on a daily basis after completing the program
- 69% more participants could climb several flights of stairs after the program
- 83% more participants could bend, kneel, or stoop
- 50% more participants could lift/carry groceries
- 39% of participants felt the program reduced their fatigue
- 30% participants felt that the program reduced their stiffness
Previously: Exercise is valuable in preventing sedentary death, Moderate physical activity not a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, study shows, Researchers look at brain activity to study falling and Help from a virtual friend goes a long way in boosting older adults’ physical activity
Photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS