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University of Missouri

Exercise in Later Years

Jo-Ana Chase looks out for elders’ health.

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Older adults are the most sedentary population in the U.S., says Jo-Ana Chase, PhD ’14, assistant professor of nursing at MU. So, in working toward a doctorate, she analyzed hundreds of studies of elders living at home to learn whether exercise classes, self-guided programs and other interventions prompted them to move more. Chase uses a method called meta-analysis, which pools data from numerous studies and gleans important findings that neither standard summaries nor individual studies can supply. The answer to her research question was yes, though exercise increased only a “modest” 620 extra steps a day. Now, using a Richard Wallace Faculty Incentive Grant from the Mizzou Alumni Association, Chase is asking the next logical question: Because maintaining physical function is key to elders’ health and independence, what does the mass of existing studies say about how exercise interventions preserve function? Stay tuned for the answer, which she hopes will help health care providers take better care of our aging population.