Benefits of nordic walking practices for senior women’s psychological needs and life quality

Dr.Biol., Professor S.I. Loginov1
A.Yu. Nikolayev1
PhD, Associate Professor M.N. Malkov1
PhD, Professor S.M. Obukhov1
1Surgut State University, Surgut

Keywords: basic psychological needs, independence, competency, communication, life quality, Nordic walking, senior women, Yugra North, self-determination theory.

Background. Senior people with special needs for physical activity are reported to account for 11% of the global population nowadays [15, 9]. Habitual physical activity is known to significantly reduce the death risks and prevent many chronic diseases albeit the proportions of physically active and relatively healthy people tend to fall the world over, particularly in the senior age groups [10]. Senior people are in need of special social support methods including the modern health-centered physical education with Nordic walking among other things that may be highly beneficial for their life quality [8]. The sagging health trends in this population group are commonly explained by the poor motivations for physical practices [7], particularly in the independence, competency and communication deficient subgroups [11]. The health physical education service shall be designed to address these psychological drawbacks, and the national research needs to give a higher priority to the physical education motivations encouragement methods with an emphasis on the self-determination (SD) elements.

Objective of the study was to test and analyze benefits of Nordic walking versus traditional health walking practices for senior women’s (n=40 aged 59-76) basic psychological qualities (BPQ: independence, competency, communication).

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the study were the senior women aged 62.6±3.2 years on average (n=40) recruited at the Territorial Social Self-management Centers (TSMC-29 and TSMC-32) in Surgut city. The Experimental Group (EG, n=20) Nordic walking trainings at TSMC-32 were designed and managed by a certified Nordic walking trainer; and the Reference Group (RG, n=20) was trained by traditional health walking method at TSMC-29, with both groups practicing 50-60min 3 times a week for 16 weeks in October 2017 through May 2018 in the local parks. In frosty days (32 days in total in January-February when the air temperatures were under -20ОС and even under -30ОС) the groups were practicing dances indoors. Every group member was qualified for the groups on an informed written consent and health report and permission from the local doctor, conditional on their health disorders being non-exacerbated in the training period. The group progress was tested by the pre- and post-experimental (24 weeks after) motivations tests (PNSE) [14] and life quality tests (SF-36, v.2) [1]. The trainings were quit for different reasons by 2 EG and 3 RG members, with the EG and RG headcounts contracting to 18 and 17, respectively.

Results and discussion. Given on Figure 1 hereunder are the progress data indicative of the meaningful progress of the EG in every component – versus the RG progress only in the competency and communication domains. Both the Nordic and traditional walking practices were found to improve the physicality and life quality rates (save for the pain complaints) in the both groups, with no intergroup difference in physical health found by the pre- vs. post-experimental tests: see Table 1.

The RG was tested with progress in the role functionality, emotionality and vital activity domains – that may be attributed to the benefits of the traditional health walking practices, whilst the other tests showed no progress.

Table 1. Physical progress of the sample (pre- versus post-experimental) tests, points, X̅ ±SD

Test rate

EG: Nordic walking

RG: traditional walking

Pre, n=20

Post, n=18

Pre, n=20

Post, n=17

Physical activity

70,0±16,9

83,3±10,6*

69,4±19,0

81,3±12,0*

Role activity

48,6±25,0

82,1±25,4*

44,1±22,6

77,2±21,2*

Pain complaints

52,6±27,0

61,3±23,1

55,6±23,4

58,4±24,4

Overall health rate

57,5±14,7

68,4±11,1*

52,2±16,3

63,6±10,2*

Physical health rate

41,3±7,7

46,6±5,6*

41,7±6,7

47,5±6,2*

Note: *data difference significance rate p<0.05 for the pre- versus post-experimental EG/RG test data; X̅ mean arithmetic value; SD standard deviation

The EG was tested with a significant progress in the life quality pre- vs. post-experimental tests versus the RG: see Table 2. This finding may be indicative of the Nordic walking practices being more beneficial for the physical and mental progress than the traditional health walking ones. A correlation analysis found the statistically significant group and intergroup correlations of the basic psychological qualities: see Table 3.

Table 2. Life quality test rates, points, X̅ ±SD

Test rate

EG: Nordic walking

RG: health walking

Pre, n=20

Post, n=18

Pre, n=20

Post, n=17

Mental activity

68,7±14,1

80,4±11,9*

60,4±15,8

65,6±9,9

Role activity, emotions

57,4±29,8

92,6±14,3*

51,0±20,8

74,5±25,1*

Social activity

66,0±20,5

73,6±15,4*

58,8±16,4

65,4±14,3

Vital activity

63,9±17,9

81,1±10,2*

52,9±17,2

69,1±17,7*

Mental health component

47,1±9,1

54,8±5,7*

42,1±6,7

46,3±6,6

Note: *p<0.05 for the EG/RG pre- versus post-experimental tests; significant difference in the EG/RG post-experimental test rates; X̅ mean arithmetic value; SD standard deviation

Table 3. Correlation matrix: life quality and basic psychological qualities rates, EG vs. RG

Test rate

CP

I

CM

PA

RA

Pain

OH

VA

SA

RAE

MA

PHC

MHC

CP

1,0

0,43

0,74

0,38

0,44

0,19

0,60

0,07

-0,003

0,08

0,50

0,42

0,11

   

p=0,08

p=0,01

p=0,13

p=0,080

p=0,46

p=0,01

p=0,77

p=0,99

p=0,77

p=0,04

p=0,09

p=0,67

I

0,12

1,0

0,53

0,23

0,38

0,28

0,07

0,28

0,15

0,16

0,26

0,31

0,18

 

p=0,63

 

p=0,03

p=0,38

p=0,13

p=0,27

p=0,79

p=0,27

p=0,57

p=0,53

p=0,31

p=0,22

p=0,48

CM

0,60

-0,02

1,0

0,08

0,16

-0,14

0,45

0,05

-0,16

0,006

0,23

0,07

0,05

 

p=0,01

p=0,93

 

p=0,75

p=0,54

p=0,58

p=0,07

p=0,87

p=0,53

p=0,98

p=0,37

p=0,79

p=0,84

PA

0,28

-0,12

0,10

1,0

0,75

0,52

0,48

0,45

0,48

0,46

0,47

0,84

0,32

 

p=0,27

p=0,62

p=0,71

 

p=0,01

p=0,03

p>0,05

p=0,07

p>0,05

p=0,08

p>0,05

p=0,00

p=0,20

RA

0,33

0,49

0,12

-0,18

1,0

0,50

0,61

0,65

0,67

0,63

0,74

0,77

0,66

 

p=0,18

p=0,04

p=0,63

p=0,48

 

p=0,04

p=0,01

p=0,01

p=0,01

p=0,01

p=0,001

p=0,00

p=0,01

Pain

0,28

0,44

0,09

0,40

0,20

1,0

0,14

0,50

0,62

0,24

0,45

0,82

0,32

 

p=0,27

p=0,07

p=0,72

p=0,10

p=0,43

 

p=0,60

p=0,04

p=0,01

p=0,35

p=0,07

p=0,00

p=0,21

OH

0,18

0,17

0,02

0,38

0,08

0,73

1,0

0,42

0,26

0,43

0,65

0,48

0,49

 

p=0,47

p=0,49

p=0,94

p=0,12

p=0,75

p=0,01

 

p=0,09

p=0,32

p=0,09

p=0,01

p=0,053

p=0,05

VA

0,11

0,23

0,27

0,24

0,18

0,73

0,64

1,0

0,49

0,39

0,67

0,58

0,67

 

p=0,68

p=0,35

p=0,28

p=0,33

p=0,48

p=0,01

p=0,01

 

p=0,05

p=0,12

p=0,01

p=0,01

p=0,01

SA

0,20

0,23

0,07

0,12

0,10

0,56

0,50

0,29

1,0

0,73

0,58

0,53

0,76

 

p=0,43

p=0,35

p=0,77

p=0,62

p=0,68

p=0,02

p=0,03

p=0,24

 

p=0,01

p=0,01

p=0,03

p=0,00

RAE

0,49

0,11

0,73

0,29

0,25

0,30

0,23

0,24

0,32

1,0

0,65

0,25

0,89

 

p=0,04

p=0,70

p=0,01

p=0,24

p=0,31

p=0,22

p=0,35

p=0,34

p=0,2

 

p=0,01

p=0,34

p=0,00

MA

0,18

-0,25

0,24

-0,1

0,12

0,19

0,32

0,52

0,52

0,37

1,0

0,50

0,84

 

p=0,47

p=0,32

p=0,33

p=0,96

p=0,63

p=0,44

p=0,19

p=0,03

p=0,03

p=0,12

 

p=0,04

p=0,00

PHC

0,04

0,38

0,01

0,57

0,25

0,75

0,56

0,58

0,12

0,16

-0,18

1,0

0,28

 

p=0,87

p=0,12

p=0,95

p=0,01

p=0,32

p=0,00

p=0,02

p=0,01

p=0,62

p=,522

p=0,48

 

p=0,28

MHC

0,19

p=0,43

0,22

0,01

0,12

0,25

0,39

0,38

0,70

0,46

0,94

-0,20

1,0

 

p=0,43

-0,18

p=0,38

p=0,97

p=0,63

p=0,32

p=0,11

p=0,12

p=0,01

p=0,06

p=0,00

p=0,42

 

Note: CP competency; I independence; CM communication; PA physical activity; RA role activity; OH overall health; VA vital activity; SA social activity; RAE role activity- emotionality; MA mental activity; PHC physical health component; MHC mental health component. Left (lower) triangle: correlations of the pre- versus post-experimental test rates in the EG; right (upper) triangle: the same for the RG

In the above matrices, the left (lower) triangle indicates correlations of the pre- versus post-experimental test rates in the EG; and the right (upper) triangle indicates correlations of the pre- versus post-experimental test rates in the RG. The communication rates in the both groups were found correlated with the competency rates (r=0.6, 0.7; p=0.01); and in the RG they correlated with the independence rate as well (r=0.53; p=0.03). Furthermore, the competency were found correlated with the overall health (r=0.60; p=0.01) and mental health rate (0.50; p=0.04) in the RG; and with the role activity (emotionality) in the EG. Independence in the EG was correlated with the role activity that means that the vital activity in this group is still unlimited by the current health conditions (r=0.49; p=0.04). The multiple significant correlations of the life quality rates in both groups may be interpreted as indicative of the practical benefits of the Nordic walking and traditional walking practices for health – and this finding generally agrees with the self-determination theory that implies that the self-determination facilitates the physical and mental health improvement initiatives for senior age groups.

Figure 1. EG and RG progress in the basic psychological quality tests
Note: *p<0.05 for the EG/RG pre- versus post-experimental tests; ▲ significant difference in the EG/RG post-experimental test rates; X̅ mean arithmetic value; vertical lines are the mean values, %

It should be mentioned that the self-determination theory have been increasingly popular for the last decade in western countries, with its provisions being widely used to encourage habitual self-reliant practices [11]. Generally the theory implies the individual motivations being driven by the basic mental needs/ qualities including independence, competency and communication [5, 4, 7]. The self-determination theory have been promoted in the physical education and sport sector by the Portuguese, British, Canadian and many other study reports [12, 6, 13] including a 2012 digest including 67 studies of motivations, self-determination-theory-based physical education and sport models and their benefits [12].

The above findings have showed the modern self-determination theory being quite efficient in rating and interpreting the internal and external motivations dominated by the basic psychological qualities / needs i.e. independence, competency and communication for the physical education encouragement purposes. The humanistic paradigms prioritizing the natural need for individual kinesiological resource being employed urge the modern self-determination theory being broader applied for the physical education and sport motivation and physical education and sport service advancement agendas. Regretfully, this theory is still not that popular and applied in Russia, and we have taken efforts herein to bridge this gap to a degree. It should be mentioned that P.J. Teixeira et al [12] recommended further studies to apply a variety of biological physical education progress markers to improve the physical health standards and morbidity rates. Thus in our study we made an attempt to favor these recommendations by using the customizable Nordic walking practices for motivations with the life quality test rates used as the biological progress markers. Our study data were found to generally agree with the self-determination theory conceptions as demonstrated by the basic psychological qualities test rates and the physical and mental health components of the life quality rates, with significant progress attained by the Nordic walking and traditional walking practices. A study of the senior sporting versus unsporting women’s basic psychological qualities and needs by R.A Kirkland et al [7] from Colorado University rated the independence at 4.16±0.9 and 3.34±1.4 points; competency at 3.59±1.1 and 3.09±1.3 points; and communication at 3.80±1.3 and 3.16±1.6 points. These data agree with the following our findings for the traditional walking versus Nordic walking groups: independence 4.3±0.6 and 5.4±0.3 points; competency 5.1±0.8 and 5.5±0.2 points; and communication 5.1±0.5 and 5.6±0.2 points, respectively. The life quality rates of the senior Surgut women versus the younger Khanty-Mansiysk women were as follows: physical health component of 47.5±6.2 versus 72.4±11.4 points; and mental health component of 42.1±6.7 and 58.1±12.4 points, respectively [2]. The physical practices resulted in improvements on every of the life quality rating scales [3].

Conclusion. The tests showed significant progress of the EG versus RG in the basic psychological quality rates, particularly in the independence aspect, whilst the RG showed some progress only in the competency and communication domains. Therefore, the habitual Nordic walking practices were tested beneficial for the senior women versus the traditional health walking ones as verified by the significant progress in the basic psychological needs satisfaction aspects with the associating improvements in the overall life quality.

References

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Corresponding author: logsi@list.ru

Abstract

Senior people with special needs for physical activity are reported to account for 11% of the global population nowadays. Habitual physical activity is known to significantly reduce the death risks and prevent many chronic diseases albeit the proportions of physically active and relatively healthy people tend to fall the world over, particularly in the senior age groups. The study tests and analyzes benefits of Nordic walking practices for senior women’s (n=40 aged 59-76) basic psychological needs (BPN: independence, competency, communication) and life quality. The sample was split up into Experimental Group (EG, n=20) doing 50-60min Nordic walking 3 times a week for 16 weeks; and Reference Group (RG, n=20) doing a traditional walking. The group progress was tested by the pre- and post-experimental (24 weeks after) motivations tests and the life quality tests (SF-36, v.2).

The tests showed significant progress of the EG versus RG in the basic psychological quality rates, particularly in the independence aspect, whilst the RG showed some progress only in the competency and communication domains. Therefore, the habitual Nordic walking practices were tested beneficial for the senior women versus the traditional walking ones as verified by the significant progress in the basic psychological needs satisfaction aspects with the associating improvements in the life quality.