ElderlyElectronic MediaExercise

An innovative way to get elderly people to exercise

Exercise, or simply expending energy through an activity that is a regular part of a person’s lifestyle may provide survival advantages, according to National Institute on Aging. The challenge is that about 75% of Americans over the age of 75 years live sedentary lives.

Here’s an innovative way to meet that challenge.

A group tele-exercise program was designed to help balance-impaired elders to improve balance and reduce their fear of falling.

I know what you’re thinking. What exactly is a tele-exercise program?

In this study, 17 independent-living people (average age 81 years) were given videoconferencing system in their homes to participate in a structured, interactive, and supervised exercise class three times each week for 15 weeks.

The participants were given the equipment. And for three times a week over 15 weeks they had real time video and audio communication with the tai chi quan instructor.

The consensus among the participants was that the program was worthwhile. In addition, there was significant improvement in fear of falling score, single leg stance time, up-and-go time (stand up from a chair and walk as quickly as they safely can for a set distance), and body sway during quiet standing.

It would be interesting to calculate the economics of such a program if adopted for widespread use.

10/18/06 22:43 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.