Yonago Acta medica 2002;45:7588
Effect of Long-Term Exercise on Physical Function and Medical Examination in Elderly Women
Toshiaki Kato and Youichi Kurosawa*
Division of Medical Science in Sports and Exercise and *Division of Health Administration and Promotion, Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, Tottori University Faculty of Medicine, Yonago 683-8503 Japan
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of exercise on physical functions (activities of daily living, physical fitness) and medical examination parameters as risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases in 65- to 75-year-old women living independently at home. The women were provided instruction on aerobic exercises and resistance training for 20 weeks. This was followed by a voluntary continuation of the exercises for 3 years (140 weeks). The subjects included 69 women who participated in an exercise instruction program in a fitness class. Thirty-eight of the women voluntarily continued with the exercise program [exercise (EX) group] and 31 women did not [sedentary (SED) group]. A control group of 44 women was also established. In the control group, most of the physical function parameters tended to deteriorate after 160 weeks. The medical examination parameters also tended to worsen, with many values above the normal limits. In the EX group, however, the physical function actually improved after 160 weeks. The improved control of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia was also observed. In the SED group, physical function improved after 20 weeks of exercise instruction but began to deteriorate once exercise was stopped. These results suggest that exercise instruction and continued exercise programs, based on an appropriate exercise prescription, are effective in improving physical function and controlling the risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases in elderly women living at home.
Key words: activities of daily living; elderly woman; exercise prescription; physical function; quality of life