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Young-Sik Park, Sang-Hyun Lim, and Jae-Yun Heo

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Sin-Ae Park, A-Young Lee, Ki-Cheol Son, Wang-Lok Lee, and Dae-Sik Kim

The present study aimed to assess the physical and psychological health benefits of a 15-session gardening intervention in elderly women and to investigate satisfaction of the gardening intervention. Fifty elderly women (age >70 years) at two senior community centers located in Seoul, South Korea, were selected to participate in this study. Twenty-four elderly women at senior community center “A” participated in a twice-weekly gardening intervention (≈50 minutes per session) during the period Sept. to Nov. 2015; 26 elderly women at senior community center “B” comprised a control group. At the completion of the 15-session gardening intervention, physical health parameters such as body composition, physical functional ability, and hand function ability were assessed in both groups. Additionally, psychological health conditions, such as cognitive ability, depression, and sociality, were assessed. The elderly women also answered a questionnaire to assess the amount of physical activity experienced during daily life. Elderly women in the gardening intervention group exhibited significantly improved muscle mass, aerobic endurance, hand dexterity, cognitive ability, and decreased waist circumference (P < 0.05). In contrast, significantly decreased muscle mass and agility and increased depression were observed in the control group (P < 0.05). Moreover, elderly women in the gardening intervention group reported a significantly higher amount of daily physical activity compared with those in the control group (P < 0.05). Additionally, 95.8% of elderly women in the gardening intervention group reported of being very satisfied with the gardening intervention. In conclusion, the gardening intervention maintained and improved the physical and psychological health of elderly women at a senior community center, whereas elderly women in the control group experienced age-related reduced physical and psychological health conditions. More studies are needed to evaluate the effects of a gardening intervention in a larger population of elderly women; in addition, a longer intervention period would provide a better measure of health in elderly women.

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Sin-Ae Park, A-Young Lee, Hee-Geun Park, Ki-Cheol Son, Dae-Sik Kim, and Wang-Lok Lee

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a gardening intervention as a physical activity in women aged over 70 years. Twenty-one women aged over 70 years were recruited from the community in Seoul, South Korea. Eleven subjects at a senior community center participated in a 15-session gardening program (twice a week, average 50 minutes per session) from Sept. to Nov. 2015. The rest of the subjects who were recruited from another senior community center acted as the control group. Blood lipid profiles, blood pressure, inflammation in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and oxidative stress were assessed by a blood test before and after the 15-session gardening intervention. The results showed that the subjects in the gardening intervention as a low- to moderate-physical activity had a significant improvement in their high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and the variables related to immunity such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) for inflammation in blood and receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) expression for oxidative stress. The results of this study suggested that the 15-session gardening intervention as a low- to moderate-physical activity led to positive effects on the blood lipid profiles, blood pressure, level of inflammatory markers in blood, and oxidative stress of women aged over 70 years.