New York, NY—June 23, 2014
Experts say it's never too late to reap the benefits of exercise, and a program offered in senior centers in Queens has been recognized for improving quality of life for many older adults.
The exercise program, offered in senior centers in Flushing and in Manhattan’s Chinatown, has helped decrease pain, improve mobility and enhance the overall health of many participants, according to a study by the Manhattan hospital.
"It may seem counterintuitive, but research has shown that exercise can actually be beneficial for people who have arthritis," explained Laura Robbins, senior vice president of Education and Academic Affairs at Hospital for Special Surgery. "The Asian older adult population in New York City grew by 64 percent from 2000 to 2010, and one in four seniors lived in poverty in 2010. This population is at risk for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Cultural and linguistic barriers limit access to healthcare services."
The hospital developed the Bone Health Initiative to address these issues. "It is gratifying that the program has been recognized, as the initiative plays an important role in helping us meet the health needs of older adults living in New York City," said Sandra Goldsmith, MA, MS, RD, director of Public and Patient Education at Hospital for Special Surgery.The program includes eight-week sessions of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) and yoga exercise classes taught by bilingual instructors to promote self-management of arthritis and other muscle and joint conditions.
"Getting seniors to be active in any way will generally improve their quality of life and help them function better in their everyday activities," said Linda A.Russell, MD, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery. "People believe that if you have arthritis you shouldn’t exercise, but appropriate exercises actually help decrease pain."
The AFEP sessions offered by HSS instructors consist mainly of chair-based exercises. The yoga sessions feature beginner yoga classes. The goal is to help participants decrease muscle and joint pain, stiffness and fatigue; improve balance; reduce falls; and increase physical activity.
In surveys conducted following the classes, almost half of the participants reported less pain on a daily basis. The number of adults who could climb several flights of stairs increased by 69 percent after the program; 83 percent more seniors could bend, kneel, or stoop; and 50 percent more reported that they could lift and carry groceries.
"The survey results indicate that the hospital's Bone Health Initiative has a positive impact on the musculoskeletal health of the senior Asian population," said Huijuan Huang, MPA, program coordinator. "The hospital will continue to offer culturally-sensitive programs to this community to help them stay active, decrease pain and improve their overall health."
About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.