senior yogaIt’s never too late to reap the benefits of exercise, and that includes older adults with muscle and joint conditions like arthritis. Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) found that a low-impact exercise program in senior centers in New York City’s Chinatown and Flushing, Queens communities helped decrease pain, improve mobility and enhance quality of life for many participants.

Effectiveness

Participants also reported significant improvements in the ability to perform activities of daily living, such as lifting or carrying groceries; climbing stairs; bending, kneeling and stooping; and bathing and getting dressed.

  • 84% of respondents reported less pain after participating in the program
  • 95% of participants reported less stiffness
  • 92% of participants reported less fatigue
  • 95% of participants reported that their balance improved
  • 100% of participants said they were very satisfied with the program and would recommend it to others

“Joints will often stiffen if not used, and muscles will weaken if not exercised. Our bodies are meant to move, and inactivity leads to weakness and stiffness, and joints with arthritis often worsen with inactivity,” said Theodore Fields, MD, director, Rheumatology Faculty Practice Plan at HSS.

How it was Determined

The exercise classes, which were free and open to community members, took place once a week for eight weeks. Participants performed chair and floor mat exercises using stretch bands and other gentle exercises. Certified bilingual instructors made the sessions culturally relevant by integrating Chinese breathing techniques and meditation into the program.

A total of 256 adults completed the questionnaires between September 2011 and June 2016. Ninety-three percent of participants were female, and 73 percent were between 60 and 79 years of age.

About the Study

The study, t”Effects of a Culturally Tailored Low-Impact Exercise Program for Chinese Older Adults in NYC,” was presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting on November 1 in Denver. More Information here: www.hss.edu.

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