The News-Gazette Online: "Physical activity not only tends to make senior citizens more fit, but also might improve their quality of life, and on a long-term basis, University of Illinois researchers are finding.
'Their overall satisfaction with their lives appears to be greater if they're more physically active,' UI kinesiology professor Edward McAuley said recently.
McAuley, kinesiology colleague Robert Motl and UI psychology Professor Ed Diener examined seniors five years after they started an exercise program, believed to be the longest study of its type. UI researchers also surveyed the participants at six months and a year.
The people in the study, 65 or older, were sedentary to start, meaning they engaged in very little physical activity in their daily lives � and certainly not enough to accrue any health benefit, McAuley said.
Their fitness levels, body composition and the like were tested prior to starting an organized walking program or a stretching and toning exercise class, which met three times a week for six months.
But the researchers didn't just assess the participants' physical health. They also surveyed the folks in the study about quality of life; self-esteem; 'self-efficacy,' their belief or confidence in their abilities; and 'affect,' their levels of happiness or contentment."