An Emperical Study On The Roles Of Physical Activities In Improving The Daily Living - From The Experiences Of Japanese Female Elderlies Who Live On Their Own

Por: Nobuhiro Ishizawa.

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Introduction
The size of the national population aged 65 or over in Japan has been on a rapid increase (MPHPT, 2000). Among this ageing population has been witnessed a growing number of elderlies who live on their own. It accounts for as many as 3,032,140 (The National Census, 2000). This figure indicates an approximately 40% increase from the previous (1995) census record. This paper aims at examining the effects of physical activities on the daily life of the elderly population through an empirical survey in Japan.

Methods
The author of this paper conducted a questionnaire (self-administered questionnaire) survey on a group of elderly females who live on their own at home in Kobe, Japan, in April 2002. Of the 60 copies distributed, 52 completed questionnaires were returned (Response rate: 86.7%). The respondents are divided into two groups; (1) 26 ‘actives’ who enjoy physical activities on a regular basis, and (2) 26 ‘inactives’ who have not been involved with any physical activities for the past six months. The former is defined as an individual who ‘performs physical activities for at least twenty minutes, three times or more a week’ (ACSM,1998). For the purpose of the data analysis, T-tests are employed in order to measure the gap in the following attributes among the ‘actives’ and the ‘inactives’ in the sample population. - (1) past medical records, (2) current medical status, (3) average monthly medical expenses, (4) existence of close friends, (5) degree of life satisfaction, (6) degree of well-being, and (7) ADL performance ability.

Findings
The average score in ‘life satisfaction’ is 30.0 in the ‘actives’ and 27.1 points in the ‘inactives’ group (Full score=35 points). This indicates a statistically significant differential (p<.01). The average ‘well-being’ is 28.9 points for the ‘actives’ and 24.7 points for ‘inactives’ (Full score=34 points), and the difference was statistically significant (p<.01). The average ‘ADL score’ accounts for 26.5 points among the ‘actives’ and 21.3 points among the ‘inactives’ (Full score=36 points), which shows another statistically significant gap between the two groups (p<.001). The result of this study has an implication that an active participation in leisure activities such as sports would have a positive impact upon the degree of their life satisfaction, well-being and ADL performance ability.

References
[1] American College of Sports Medicine(1998). ACSM position stands on exercise and physical activity for older adults. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 30: 975-991.
[2] Lawton, M.P.(1991). A multidimensional view of quality of life in frail elders. Academic Press CA :3-29.

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