Research: CHEN and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 182


CHEN and COLLEAGUES, School of Nursing, Fooyin University, Taliao Township, Kaohsiung 831 Taiwan.  tested the effects of 6 months of silver yoga exercises in promoting the mental health of older adults in senior activity centres, especially their sleep quality, depression, and self-perception of health status.


Sleep disturbances, depression, and low perception of health status are commonly seen in elderly population; however, clinicians tend to underestimate or overlook the presence of these symptoms and assume them to be a part of normal ageing. Non-pharmacological methods that promote a mind-body interaction should be tested to enhance the mental health of older adults.


Cluster randomized trial. Setting: Eight senior activity centres, southern Taiwan. A sample of 139 participants was recruited, and 128 of them completed the study. Inclusion criteria: (1) community-dwelling older adults ages 60 and over, (2) no previous training in yoga, (3) able to walk without assistance, (4) cognitively alert based on the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ) score of eight or higher, and (5) independent or mildly dependent in self-care based on a Barthel Index (BI) score of 91 or higher. The mean age of the participants was 69.20 +/- 6.23 years, and the average number of chronic illness was 0.83 +/- 0.90. The average BI score of the participants was 99.92 +/- 0.62, and the mean SPMSQ score was 9.90 +/- 0.30. Participants were randomly assigned into either the experimental (n=62) or the control (n=66) group based on attendance at selected senior activity centres. A 70-min silver yoga exercise program was implemented three times per week for 6 months as the intervention for the participants in the experimental group.


Most of the mental health indicators of the participants in the experimental group had significantly improved after the silver yoga interventions, and many of the indicators improved after 3 months of intervention and were maintained throughout the 6 months study. The mental health indicators of the participants in the experimental group were all better than the participants in the control group (all p<.05).


After 6 months of silver yoga exercises, the sleep quality, depression, and health status of older adults were all improved.


Chen KM, Chen MH, Chao HC, Hung HM, Lin HS and Li CH. Sleep quality, depression state, and health status of older adults after silver yoga exercises: cluster randomized trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 46(2): 154-63. Feb 2009.


The above research demonstrates that a yoga program for adults aged 60 and over with no previous training in yoga, but able to walk without assistance was associated with improvements in mental indicators and these effects were maintained for 6 months.


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