Several studies have shown the positive effects of adapted physical activity (APA) on physical and mental health (MH) during the lifetime. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a specific APA intervention program in the improvement of the health-related quality of life (QOL) and functional condition of spine in elderly women.
Thirty women were recruited from a senior center and randomly assigned to two groups: control group (CG; age: 69.69±7.94 years, height: 1.57±0.06 m, weight: 68.42±8.18 kg, body mass index [BMI]: 27.88±2.81) and trained group (TG; age: 68.35±6.04 years, height: 1.55±0.05 m, weight: 64.78±10.16 kg, BMI: 26.98±3.07). The APA program was conducted for 8 weeks, with two training sessions/week. CG did not perform any physical activity during the study. Spinal angles were evaluated by SpinalMouse(®) (Idiag, Volkerswill, Switzerland); health-related QOL was evaluated by SF-36 Health Survey, which assesses physical component summary (PCS-36), mental component summary (MCS-36), and eight subscales: physical functioning, role-physical, bodily pain, general health perception, role-emotional, social functioning, vitality, and MH. All measures were recorded before and after the experimental period.
In TG, compared to CG, the two-way analysis of variance with repeated measures with Bonferroni post hoc test showed a relevant improvement in lumbar spinal angle (°) and in SF-36 outcomes after the intervention period. We showed a significant increase in physical functioning, bodily pain, and MH subscales and in PCS-36 and MCS-36 scores in TG compared to CG. In particular, from baseline to posttest, we found that in TG, the PCS-36 and MCS-36 scores increased by 13.20% and 11.64%, respectively.
We believe that an 8-week APA intervention program is able to improve psychophysical heath in elderly people. During the aging process, a dynamic lifestyle, including regular physical activity, is a crucial factor for public and health care systems to improve QOL and physical fitness in aging people.