LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF REGULAR EXERCISING IN ELDERLY WOMEN

Tatjana Novak, Rajko Vute

Abstract


The purpose of the research was to evaluate the long-term effects of regular physical activity for elderly women (over 65 years old) on their functional physical fitness.  At the beginning, 32 women (69.68 ± 3.83 years) were included into an exercise (experimental) group and 32 women (70.75 ± 3.67 years) into a control group, who were not included into active exercise. The exercise took place at the Rudolf Maister School Centre in Kamnik and lasted for five years. It was performed intensively twice a week for 60 minutes from October 2006 to June 2007 and once a week for 60 minutes from October 2007 to June 2011. The Fullerton test battery was used to measure motor skills related to strength, power, flexibility, balance, endurance, speed and coordination. The first set of measurements for the members of the exercise group was taken in October 2006, the second after 6 months of exercise in July 2007 and the third in July 2011, including 20 women from the same exercise group who were still actively participating after four years. The measurements for the control group were only performed in October 2006 and July 2011, when 17 women from the same control group had their measurements taken again. The results of the Fullerton test battery showed a significant (p < 0.05) improvement in all tests after half a year of adapted exercise; additionally, significant (p < 0.05) progress was also noted in most tests following 4.5 years of exercising. Moreover, the exercise group, in comparison with the control group, also performed significantly (p < 0.001) better in most of the tests. Exercise can have a significant impact on the improvement of the motor skills of the elderly, which may result in the independent performance of all basic hygiene tasks as well as dressing, household and domestic work, shopping and other tasks related to freedom of movement, expansion of living space and an independent and autonomous life without the assistance of others.


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