Physical Fitness of Older Adults in Senior Activity Centers after 24-Week Silver Yoga Exercises

Wednesday, 9 July 2008: 8:30 AM
Kuei-Min Chen, RN, PhD , School of Nursing, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Ming-Hsien Chen, MSW , Senior Social Welfare Division, Social Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Shan-Mann Hong, MS , School of Nursing, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Hui-Chen Chao, MS , School of Nursing, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Huey-Shyan Lin, MS , Department of Nursing Administration, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Chun-Huw Li, MS , Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to comprehend the protocol of a newly developed silver yoga exercise program for older adults.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the effects of the silver yoga exercise program in promoting the physical fitness of older adults.

Background: Promoting physical fitness of young-older adults is essential in reducing healthcare expenditures which would occur in the future for those with chronic health problems. The silver yoga program is one of the therapeutic-based exercise choices specifically tailored to the elderly who have chronic health problems.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to test older adults' physical fitness after a 24-week silver yoga exercise program, and to examine whether the program could be further shortened to fit senior activity centers' program designs.

Method: A quasi-experimental, pre-test and post-tests design was used. Eight senior activity centers were randomly assigned into three groups: 1) complete silver yoga group with stretching and meditation (experiment I), 2) shortened silver yoga group without the guided-imagery meditation (experiment II), and 3) wait-list control group. Each one of the group interventions was led by two pre-trained, certified silver yoga instructors, three times per week for 24 weeks. The physical fitness outcome measures (body composition, cardiovascular-respiratory functions, physical functions, and range of motion) were examined at three points in time: baseline, at 12-week, and at 24-week. A convenient sample of 204 subjects was recruited, 189 of them completed the study, and 176 of them had an attendance rate of 50% and higher.

Results: At the end of the 24-week period, all of the physical fitness indicators of the subjects in experiments I and II had significantly improved whether or not guided-imagery meditation was used, and all had better physical fitness than the subjects in the control group (all p < .05).

Conclusion: It was recommended that the silver yoga program be shortened by eliminating the guided-imagery meditation and that this shortened program be incorporated as an activity program in senior activity centers and community-settings to promote the physical fitness of community-dwelling older adults.