Exercise may give an emotional lift to frail elderly

באדיבות medicontext.co.il
ast Updated: 2001-08-02 16:27:35 EDT (Reuters Health)

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Regular exercise may give an emotional boost to frail elderly adults, new study results suggest, adding to existing evidence that activity can bring benefits beyond physical well-being.

But probably the most important finding in the current study is the fact that the various forms of exercise caused elderly participants no physical pain, the lead investigator told Reuters Health.

"A lot of elderly people, especially those with arthritis and other painful conditions, are reluctant to exercise because of concern about increasing their pain and discomfort," noted Dr. Kenneth B. Schechtman of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. Schechtman and his colleagues evaluated more than 1700 elderly adults who took part in exercise interventions at four sites in the US. All were frail and considered at risk for fall-related injuries. The researchers focused on how the activities, which included endurance, resistance, flexibility and balance training, affected participants' quality of life.
Overall, participants reported improved emotional health following the exercise intervention, the team reports in Annals of Behavioral Medicine for August. The scale used to measure emotional health did not specifically gauge psychiatric symptoms such as depression, but it can serve as an indicator of such conditions, the researchers point out. Essentially, Dr. Schechtman explained, the scale asks, "Do you feel good about yourself?"

The frequency, types and intensity of exercise required for an emotional lift are unclear, according to Dr. Schechtman. He said that further research is needed to tease out the benefits of exercise for various populations.

-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700

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