Investigating the effect of Tai Chi and Zumba Gold® on markers of physiological and psychological health in older age adults

Kasim, Nor Fadila (2019). Investigating the effect of Tai Chi and Zumba Gold® on markers of physiological and psychological health in older age adults. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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As the average life expectancy of populations across the world increases, there is a growing challenge to maintain the health of older adults into older age. Older adults are at greater risk of endothelial dysfunction, reduction in functional fitness and mental ill-health issues such as depression, anxiety and loneliness. Research has suggested that low physical activity (PA) among older age populations contributes to an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation, which contribute to perpetuate further endothelial dysfunction, and growing mental ill-health. Low PA coupled to the natural process of sarcopenia are factors in an older adults’ decreased functional fitness, which limits their ability to do things independently. This creates a declining spiral in ageing leading to isolation, disease and eventually death. Therefore, encouraging older adults to increase their PA and adhere to an exercise programme is crucial in offsetting the effects of ageing. However, not all modes of PA are perceived as suitable for an older age population. This thesis presents two studies investigating the potential of Tai Chi and Zumba Gold® (i.e., Zumba® for older adults) to offset some of the effects of ageing on functional fitness, accumulation of oxidative stress and inflammation with age, and their role in endothelial function, and mental ill-health. In the acute Tai Chi study, 60 minutes of Tai Chi was able to produce a transient increase in plasma markers of inflammation (IL-6 and IL-10), and oxidative stress (MDA in old and 8-isoprostane in young) participants. Both age groups also had an improvement in endothelium dependent dilation, as measured using the non-invasive technique; flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Following 12 weeks of exercise training, participants in both the Tai Chi and Zumba Gold® groups showed an improvement in blood pressure, FMD, leg strength and endurance compared to baseline. Physical and mental fatigue, as well as feelings of loneliness were improved in the Tai Chi group, while sleep quality, and perceptions of mental and physical health were improved in the Zumba Gold® group. Both groups also were found to have relatively high autonomous motivation for exercise and high self-efficacy to overcome exercise barriers. However, autonomous motivation and self-efficacy were not associated with changes in physiological or psychological outcome measures. In sum, the data presented in this thesis provide information that both Tai Chi and Zumba Gold are suitable exercise modes for older adults, which can improve markers of both physical and psychological health.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Ministry of Education Malaysia
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QP Physiology


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