But researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who study the effects of exercise on aging point to new findings that may inspire people to get up, get out and get moving on a regular basis. The research team, led by kinesiology professor Edward McAuley, found that previously sedentary seniors who incorporated exercise into their lifestyles not only improved physical function, but experienced psychological benefits as well.
"The implications of our work are that not only will physical activity potentially add years to your life as we age, but the quality of those years is likely to be improved by regular physical activity," McAuley said.
Results of the study appear in an article titled "Physical Activity Enhances Long-Term Quality of Life in Older Adults: Efficacy, Esteem and Affective Influences," published in the current issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Co-authors with McAuley on the report are UI kinesiology professor Robert W. Motl; psychology professor Ed Diener; and current and former graduate students Steriani Elavsky, Liang Hu, Gerald J. Jerome, James F. Konopack and David X. Marquez.
The UI research indicated positive psychosocial and cognitive outcomes -- in effect, significant quality-of-life gains -- among participants who remained physically active long after they began an initial randomized, six-month exercise trial consisting of walking and stretching/toning exercises. Results were gleaned from a battery of surveys and assessments administered at one- and five-year intervals following the initial exercise regimen.
McCauley said the study -- which assessed physical activity levels, quality of life, physical self-esteem, self-efficacy and affect in a large sample (174) of adults over age 65 -- is believed to be the only one to
Contact: Melissa Mitchell, News Editor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign