When older adults are released from hospital, studies show that most lose some of their ability to function physically. This can lead to trouble performing tasks that were once easy. Going up and down stairs, carrying out the garbage, and even standing up after sitting down can be difficult to accomplish with any kind of agility.
Once an older adult starts to lose the ability to perform these sorts of physical tasks, their quality of life can begin to diminish. There is some positive health news about how to stop this chain of events from happening, however. A study just conducted at Oslo University in Norway has found that if adults released from hospital were given counseling and an exercise program to follow, they were able to maintain their physical function and quality of life — or even improve on these variables.
The exercise program consisted of counseling, balance and progressive resistance training and support from a physical therapist at a geriatric day-hospital and at home. A control-group also participated in the study and received counseling, balance training, and support from the physical therapist. One hundred and eight participants were recruited.
After three months, 77 participants were tested. The researchers found that the counseling-exercise program had significant benefits in terms of health-related quality of life. Vitality increased, while bodily pain decreased. Study participants in the intervention group improved their scores on the “5 times Sit-to-Stand” test, the six-minute walk test, and activities balance confidence scale.
The researchers concluded that it is possible for older people to increase their health-related quality of life, physical function, and level of physical activity through counseling, exercise and support from physical therapists.
After a hospital stay, get your doctor’s advice about hooking up with a physical therapist who can devise an exercise routine suitable to your needs.
For a backgrounder on resistance training and how it boosts your health, read Do This One Thing, Get 14 Health Benefits.