Background Psychological distress (PD) is common worldwide. Physical exercise is usually recommended by physicians to relieve PD among older adults. However, there is not yet strong enough evidence to support this recommendation.
Aim This study examined the effect of a low impact exercise program on marginalised Lebanese women with psychological distress.
Methods Community-dwelling women with a mean age of 56 years were randomised to either a low impact exercise program of three times a week for 6 weeks or a control group that received daily calcium tablets. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was used to assess PD, the main outcome measure, and intention-to-treat analysis was performed. A focus group discussion was then conducted with a group of women who completed the exercise program.
Results Sixty nine women were enrolled. Psychological distress was significantly lower at the completion of the study when compared to baseline levels in both intervention and calcium groups, whereby a drop in the GHQ-12 was noted in all 69 women, but this drop did not differ significantly between the two groups.
Conclusion This study showed that light impact exercise did not result in significant improvement of PD though the women who participated in the exercise program reported improvement and asked to sustain this activity.
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