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Exercise Program Helps Asian Seniors Bone Up On Health

Older Asian adults in New York City’s Chinatown and Flushing, Queens, are getting a new lease on life thanks to a program offered by the Hospital for Special Surgery.

The primary focus of the program is to improve bone health among participants. According to research presented at the 2013 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, this population is at great risk for osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

“This study assesses the impact of participation in the AFEP (Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program) on self-reported pain, falls and level of physical activity, based on responses to a bilingual (English/Chinese) pre/ post-test survey of 63 participants,” explained the study authors.

Subjects completed six 8-week AFEP sessions and three 8-week yoga sessions during the intervention. Here are some of the program’s results:

  • 48% fewer participants had pain on a daily basis after completing the program.
  • 69% more participants could climb several flights of stairs after the program.
  • 83% more participants could bend, kneel or stoop.
  • 50% more participants could lift/carry groceries.
  • 39% of participants felt the program reduced their fatigue.
  • 30% participants felt the program reduced their stiffness.

“Results indicate the AFEP has a positive impact on the health of the Asian senior population with musculoskeletal conditions,” the authors said. “While further research is needed, [the Hospital for Special Surgery] will continue to offer culturally-sensitive programs to this community to help seniors stay active, decrease pain and improve overall health.”

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