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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • elderly women;
  • exercise;
  • physical fitness;
  • self-efficacy

ABSTRACT Objective: This study aimed to examine the effects of exercise programs on physical fitness, depression, and self-efficacy in low-income elderly women (age≥75).

Design and Sample: A pretest-posttest experimental research design with a control group was used. The sample consisted of 26 women in the exercise group and 22 women in the wait-list control group in Seoul, Korea.

Measures: The measures of physical fitness included body mass index, cardiopulmonary endurance (blood pressure and heart rate), muscle strength (hand grip strength), flexibility (degree of bending of the upper body), and balance (duration of time for which the subject could stand on one foot). Depression and self-efficacy were measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale and a modified form of Lee's scale, respectively. All measures were obtained twice: at baseline and at the completion of the exercise program.

Intervention: The exercise program consisted of 4 weeks of education along with 8 weeks of physical exercise.

Results: After the intervention, significant improvements were found in depression, self-efficacy, and all measures of physical fitness, except heart rate and flexibility, in the experimental group.

Conclusion: The exercise program may be recommended as a method to maintain and promote the health of low-income elderly women.