Purpose: To introduce a newly-developed acupunch exercise program, called the Healthy Beat Acupunch (HBA) exercise program, for older adults in community and to describe the program developmental process.
Methods: The Delphi technique with consultations of a panel of 16 experts from eight professional fields was used to develop the HBA exercise program. The preliminary HBA program protocol, including hard copy descriptions and DVD demonstrations of each motion, was initially developed by the research team based on the Jing-Luo theory, the three principles of acupunch (Shaun, 2008; Shaun, 2009), the physical fitness guidelines for older adults (Haskell et al., 2007), and the essential elements of a comprehensive exercise program for older adults (Chen & Lin, 2006). The program protocol was sent to the Delphi advisory panel for their critical evaluations based on the four criteria suggested by Chen, Tseng, Huang, and Li (2013): 1) simplicity, 2) safety, 3) suitability, and 4) helpfulness. The scoring system ranged from 1 to 4: 1 indicates the motion should be eliminated; 2 demonstrates the motion should be considerably revised; 3 shows the motion should have minor revision; 4 denotes the motion does not require revision and should not be eliminated. The experts were asked to provide suggestions for revisions if they rated a particular motion with a score < 3. The critiques and evaluations of the experts were analyzed and summarized through content analysis, and the HBA program was revised accordingly.
Results: Based on the experts’ consultations, the developed HBA program is comprised of three phases with 24 motions, and takes 40 minutes to complete: 1) activating qi and blood (10 minutes): five slow and gentle motions to regulate qi, loosen the body, and elevate energy for a safe transition to the next phase, 2) punching meridians (20 minutes): 14 low-to-medium speed motions to punch the 14 meridians, enhancing the cardiovascular-respiratory workout, and 3) relaxing body and mind (10 minutes): five low-speed, muscle relaxing motions with deep breathing to soothe the body and mind. Experts had consistent and positive feedback about the HBA, and only minor changes were made to the program. The average ratings of the experts on the four evaluation criteria ranged from 3.81 ± 0.40 to 4.00 + 0.00.
Conclusion: The HBA program is feasible, safe, appropriate, and helpful to community older adults, and it provides older adults with a new exercise option. Global nurse practitioners or researchers who are interested in health promotion and/or health maintenance of older adults could further test the effects of the HBA program on older adults in order to disseminate the program as a health promotion activity for older adults in community.