Older adults who exercise tend to do so in groups, but do they get something out of it? Could even a single class affect their health and mood?
Brock University master’s student Sarah Galway is aiming to answer these and other questions in a study she’s conducting on the effects of a brief exercise session on health and mood in older adults.
Research shows that getting out of the house and connecting with others has many benefits, says Galway, whose research is under the direction of Associate Professor of Kinesiology Kimberley Gammage.
“With older adults, you sometimes see things like isolation and loneliness, so having more of a social environment through group exercise tends to be really helpful,” says Galway.
However, most studies in exercise psychology tend to focus on younger populations and involve exercise classes that run for weeks, she says.
Galway is looking for men and women over the age of 60 who are able to complete exercise without the use of a mobility aid and have normal or corrected-to-normal hearing.
The research involves two visits to the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being. During the first visit, participants will fill out a questionnaire, while in the second visit, they will fill out more questionnaires and exercise in a one-hour class.
“We know that physical activity is important at any part of the lifespan, so it’s important to understand how we can get older adults to adhere to exercise,” Galway says. “As people age, they are more at risk for chronic conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease. Exercise is one of the best medicines out there.”