2011 Volume 56 Issue 2 Pages 467-479
As a trial project for improving the motor function of normal elderly individuals, we prepared both home-type and class-type exercise programs that were easily achievable. The home-type program relied on each participant's independence, and the class-type program offered an opportunity to join classes. We compared the exercise practice rate, physical strength and psychological aspect of 48 individuals (home group n=24; class group n=24) who agreed to participate in the study. The subjects were instructed to exercise every day using the study material for 11 weeks. The exercise was the same in both groups, and included muscle strength, stretching, and balance training. Five classes were held during the 11-week study period, and the main evaluation was the exercise practice rate during this period. We also compared the changes in motor function (grip strength, one-legged standing time with eyes open, timed up and go, 5-m walking time, 5-m maximum walking time, sitting forward flexion, and 10-second chair stand time) and psychological aspect (health-related quality of life, assessed using the SF-36). Among the 48 subjects, 20 from the home group and 19 from the class group were analyzed. The exercise practice rate during the 11-week period was 61.5% for the home group and 59.3% for the class group, the difference being non-significant. Analysis of variance showed that grip strength and body pain (one item of the SF-36) were group x time interaction, and that the condition of subjects in the home group improved to a greater degree (P<0.05). Significant time-related effects were observed for 5-m walking time, one-legged standing time with eyes open, 10-second chair stand time, timed up and go, and social function (one item of the SF-36) (P<0.05). The results of this study showed that both the home-type and class-type programs resulted in about a 4-day exercise week. In addition, there was no significant difference in the effects of the two programs. It is suggested that both programs could be potentially effective for preventive health care.