Older Adults Participating in Group Exercise May Boost Physical, Mental Health: Study

Healthy mature woman sitting on exercise mat in lotus position and doing yoga in the classAs we age, exercise is essential to our physical health and mental health. This can be especially important for older adults, as engaging in physical activity has been linked to increased emotional stability, improved focus and memory recall, better cardiovascular health, and even lowered risk for chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes.

But obtaining those physical and mental health benefits doesn’t have to mean breaking a sweat alone on the treadmill at home; a new study has indicated that participating in group exercise programs designed with seniors in mind may help strengthen both body and mind.


In 2005 the University of Missouri launched its “Stay Strong Stay Healthy” program. Stephen Ball, who has dedicated his career to improving the health of older Missourians through exercise, played a large part in the University’s new program. For years, he has spoken about the physical and mental health benefits older adults have experienced with exercise training programs, but thanks to this new study, he now has proof.

For the study, Ball collaborated with Missouri Orthopedic Institute to analyze the effectiveness of the “Stay Strong Stay Healthy” strength training program in a group setting among adults over the age of 60. All participants in the study were required to attend an instructor-led course which lasted one hour and was held twice a week for eight weeks. The course taught participants how to safely complete strength training exercises, including bicep curls and squats.

After accounting for muscle strength, balance, and flexibility before and after the program, researchers found that participants improved their physical health outcomes and their self-confidence in exercise. This increased their physical activity in their daily life and reduced the risk of falls, which is a significant concern for aging adults.

We help older adults maintain their independence as they age and reduce their risk of falling, which has huge financial implications as well as health implications,” Ball said. “We keep hearing from participants that in addition to feeling stronger, healthier and more active, another major reason they enjoy the group classes is the social aspect of making friends with others their age and engaging with community members in a stress-free environment.”


This study helps to show the importance of physical activity in older adults and how the social impact of group classes is vital. Social connection is an essential part of health in seniors, and group exercise classes offer an excellent way to interact with others while getting physical activity.

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Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.