Background: The goals of an exercise program are different for elderly adults. However, the most important focuses are health and maintenance of function to pursue everyday activities safely and independently without undue fatigue. Jazzercise is a combination of jazz dance and exercise. Jazzercise allows for changes in the jazz, which requires professional and difficult techniques into easy, light, and practicable movements by using Korean popular music so that even elderly people can easily practice it.
Purpose: This study investigated the effects of jazzercise on physical fitness and body composition in elderly women.
Methods: The subjects of this study were in their 60s and 70s (N = 22) and worked out at a senior center located at the Seoul metropolitan area in South Korea. They were divided into two groups: 60s (n = 11, average age = 64.63 ± 3.10) and 70s (n = 11, average age = 72.18 ± 2.27). The jazzercise program was designed for an RPE intensity of 11-13, 40-60 min/day and 3 times/ week for 12 weeks. Fitness test items were muscular endurance (chair stand, arm curl), flexibility (back scratch, chair sit-and-reach), balance (8-ft up-and-go, and one-legged standing with closed eyes) and aerobic capacity (6-min walk). Body composition included measures of percent fat and LBM (lean body mass). The collected data were analyzed with a statistical software package (SPSS 12.0 version). Paired t tests and independent t tests were used to examine within- and between-group effects. The significance level was set at p < .05.
Results: Both the 60s and 70s groups significantly (p < .05) improved on the chair-stand test, arm-curl test, and chair sit-and-reach test after jazzercise. Only the 60s group showed significant (p < .05) improvements in the back-scratch test (right side), 6-min-walk test, and one-legged standing with closed eyes test. Values for the 8-foot up-and-go test and body composition were not changed with exercise in both groups. Changes in all variables were not statistically different between these groups.
Conclusions: Jazzercise had positive impacts on functional fitness in elderly women. Particularly, it helps improve muscle strength and lower limb flexibility. We suggest that jazzercise can improve fitness of elderly women, regardless of age. However, more research is still needed using different targets or methods in the exercise program to demonstrate beneficial physical improvements in women in their 60s and 70s.