This study evaluated health benefits of a supported physical activity program for 116 older carers (mean age 64.4 [SD = 7.9], 85% women). Participants undertook a 6-month center-based physical activity program (strength training, yoga, or Tai Chi). Eighty-eight participants (76%) completed the program. Multivariate repeated-measures ANOVA identified overall significant improvement postintervention (p = .004). Univariate analyses revealed significant improvements for balance, strength, gait endurance, depression, and SF-36 (physical component; p < .05). There was no change in the Zarit Carer Burden Scale (p > .05). Change in performance scores did not differ significantly between those with higher and lower attendance at classes, although there was significantly greater improvement in gait endurance and balance (p < .05) in those attending classes run twice weekly than in those attending once-weekly classes. In conclusion, a carer physical activity program, providing additional carer support to facilitate participation, can achieve high levels of involvement by carers and significant health benefits.
- Informal care provider