The Essential Criticality of Comprehensive Physical Exercise Programs for the Elderly in Taiwan

Su Fen Chen, Fordham University


Background There are an over 14.5% of elderly population (2.8 million) in Taiwan who have do not like to exercise and found only 17.9% elderly aged 65 to exercise regularly each week, due to their past falls experience, and another reason is that social support system is established incompletely. The practice reflects the phenomenon of elderly in Taiwan's society (Ministry of Education, 2016). Research reports that studied on the policy of the elderly in Taiwan from the leisure experiences also pointed out that exercise training is beneficial for mental, physical health simultaneously (Mou, 2005). Despite these data, it is uncertain how the policy maker and social work profession are responding to their needs. There is a paucity of research regarding social work with elderly's health and physical Exercise (PE). What little literature exists suggests that a PE intervention improves health outcomes including functional fitness, emotional wellbeing, psychosocial wellbeing, and motivation to change behavior in a Taiwanese elderly population. Methods This study used true experimental design, pretest-posttest design and hoped to make new contributions to the understanding of this important topic. This study used a specific PE intervention program designed by the Sports Administration of the Ministry of Education (SAMOE) of Taiwan to assist the elderly and examine the efficiency of health outcomes. The sample was assign randomly to participate in the PE programs at the beginning of the winter semester last year (2018) in Taiwan, those who are over 65 years old and healthy enough to exercise in this study, and no barrier in language, hearing, seeing, walking or cognitive function, and which requires purposive sampling to recruit and out of their intention, random assigned to treatment and control group respectively. The overall sample (n = 79) was divided into the treatment group (n=40, 27 females and 13 males) and the control group were (39 older adults (n=39, 24 females and 15 males). The treatment group received the intervention of PE program, which had 40 minutes of sections, three times per week, total duration was two months but the control group did not accept the PE program. Results This experimental study revealed that the PE intervention program had a positive impact on all the health outcomes (p < .05), which caused over 30% improvement in the treatment group compared with the control group, and over near 30%-40% improvement in the treatment group, and near 20% improvement in emotional wellbeing and motivation to change behavior. In contrast, the elderly's health outcomes at post-test were all worse over 15% than pre-test in the control group, especially functional fitness was worse over 20%. Conclusion The empirical evidence could help the social work field to better understand the needed for support services in implementing regular PE for the psychological and physiological health of Taiwan's elderly population. Social workers and policy makers could prompt the PE intervention program to be adopted more widely to serve all of the elderly population in Taiwan.

Subject Area

Gerontology|Social studies education|Public health|Kinesiology|Physiology

Recommended Citation

Chen, Su Fen, "The Essential Criticality of Comprehensive Physical Exercise Programs for the Elderly in Taiwan" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13883189.