J Nurs Acad Soc.  1997 Dec;27(4):807-819.

Effects of Low-intensity Exercise on Functional Ability in Hospitalized Elderly

  • 1rich@healthis.org


The purpose of the study was to identify the effects of 12-week low-intensity exercise program on muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and cognitive characteristics related to the performance of activity of daily living(ADL). A total of 16 patients who were admitted to the medical unit of a general hospital in ChoongChung province were recruited eight for the exercise group and eight for the comparison group. Four levels of low-intensity exercise from 'ROM on bed' to 'exercise while walking' were then applied to the exercise group according to their physical condition. During hospitalization, patients in the exercise group performed each level of the prescribed exercise with the researchers until they felt. comfortable doing it independently. The researchers also visited the patients' homes after discharge to make sure they could perform the exercise with Theraband in their living environment. The exercise group was contacted by phone once a week to assess the frequency and intensity in which they performed the exercise as well as their physical condition. The subjects in the comparison group participated in measurements for the study without performing the exercise and were contacted by phone after discharge, in a matched time frame with the exercise group, to assess physical condition. Muscle strength, flexibility, balance, cognitive characteristics, and performance of ADL for the two groups were compared at the pretest and the posttest after the low-intensity exercise program by utilizing SPSSWIN and the results are as follows : 1) At the posttest, measurments of muscle strengths showed that the strength of the dorsal flexor in the exercise group was significantly higher than in the comparison group. 2) Objective balance for the exercise group was significantly better than for the comparison group as measured by 'standing on one foot' and Tinetti gait and balance control. 3) The exercise group showed significantly higher task self-efficacy than the comparison group. 4) Perceived exertion for ADL for the exercise group was significantly lower than for the comparison group. 5) Improvement of performance of ADL without assistance was significantly for the exercise group than the comparison group. The findings suggest that a low-intensity exercise program would be useful for the elderly who show decline in their physical functioning due to hospitalization by partly improving physical strength, task self-efficacy, and performance of ADL. Directions for further research on issues of motivating people to exercise as well as of standardizing various types of exercise were discussed.


Low-intensity Exercise o Functional Ability; ADL; Elderly
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