Critique of an Article: Silver Yoga Exercises Improved Physical Fitness of Transitional Frail Elders


The article “Silver yoga exercises improved physical fitness of transitional frail elders” by Chin, Fan, Wang, Wu, Li, & Lin (2010) argues that the need to enhance the health conditions of the transitional frail elders cannot be undermined. This is considered important due to the benefits that can be accrued on savings of expenditure spent dealing with chronic health problems. It is a natural occurrence that the aging process creates deterioration in physical performance and well as a proliferation and susceptibility to chronic health problems. There has been continuous innovation in the clinical practice as evidenced by therapeutic-oriented, yoga exercise program customized for seniors with an aim of enhancing their physical fitness (Chin et al., 2010). This paper seeks to critique a study conducted to determine how silver yoga exercises contributes to the improved fitness among transitional frail elders. The critique will emphasize on variables used during the study and determine the various aspects and how they have been structured to make the study more meaningful.

Independent and Dependent Variables

The article clearly indicates the dependent variables that are measured during the study. These are the physical fitness outcomes such as body composition, cardiovascular-respiratory functions, flexibility, muscle power and endurance, balance, and agility (Chin et al., 2010). The article further points out the measures used for every dependent variable indicated. The data on these variables follows a time series where the measures were obtained at three points in time to check how they were impacted by yoga exercises. The independent variable for the study is the Silver Yoga Exercises

Variable Measured and Variables in the Objective and Research Questions

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy levels of a senior-tailored yoga program for transitional frail elders. To achieve this, the article aims to determine the levels of physical fitness by measuring variables such as body composition, cardiovascular respiratory functions, body flexibility, muscle power & endurance, balance, and agility of the elders (Chin et al., 2010). These variables perfectly matches the variables measured during carrying out of the study.

Variables and Study Framework

In the theoretical framework, the article identifies the importance of Yoga in relation to enhancing body alignment, breathing, circulation, and other aspects related to health problems (Chin et al., 2010). The theoretical framework in this study identifies other factors such as muscle strength, joint flexibility and balance. The article indicated the engagement of Yoga works through static posture to create improvements in the muscle strength and flexibility. The variables measured during the study have been built up from the research concepts identified in the study framework. This shows cohesive and logic flow between the different components of the study.

Conceptual and Operational Definition of Variables

In developing a research, it is important to identify the variables. Variables are the observed features that are measured in a study. It begins with determining conceptual variables referring to the general idea of what needs to be measured. This is then followed by operational definition of the variables where the variable is broken down into smaller components that are more specific and measurable. In the article under review, Chin et al. (2010) identify the conceptual variables for the study such as body composition, muscle power and endurance. The conceptual variables are then given operational definition to make them measurable. Body composition is defined in terms of body height, weight, BMI and body fat percentage (Chin et al., 2010). These variables are further broken into their specific units and method of measurement. The conceptualization of these variables is linked with the theoretical framework identified by the study (Chin et al., 2010).

Essential Demographic Variables

Demographic variables include the features and attributes of the participants gathered to describe the sample. These variables cannot be manipulated. They may include age, gender, occupation, marital status and income level (Kaur, 2013). In this article, the essential demographic variables that were examined and summarized include age where the average age was found at 75.40 years, gender where it was determined most participants were women at 52.70%, and marital status where the article discovered that most were widowed. The education level was also evaluated and found that most (81.8%) had elementary school education (Chin et al., 2010). The lifestyle variables established the number of smokers and level of physical activity.

Extraneous Variables

The extraneous variables refer to those variables that are assumed and not adequately considered but end up affecting the research outcomes. These variables are present in all studies and influence the measurement of the study variables. Some extraneous variables are not recognized in the initial stages of the study but are identified later after the study has commenced (Nieswiadomy, 2012). For this study, some extraneous variables were identified. One was on the instructors used to offer the Yoga program. The studies resolved to use certified instructors who were middle-aged women. Another variable identified for this study is the nature of exercise program. This was controlled to ensure that that exercises were part of the regular activities in which the participants engaged by choosing instructors who were staff members of the institution. These instructors had been trained and certified by the principal researcher (Chin et al., 2010). Another extraneous variable identified was the direction provided for each yoga posture. This variable was controlled by using a prerecorded audio taped by the principal researcher to give verbal guidance and direct the participants in a way that ensured intervention consistency across various groups. Another extraneous variable that had been anticipated was on matters of discomfort that may have been experienced during the yoga session. This was controlled by emphasizing on the need to perform each act with gentleness and moderation. The instructors were also prompted to record any sign of discomfort that may be experienced by participants during the session (Chin et al., 2010).

Uncontrolled Extraneous Variable

Some extraneous variables may fail to be spotted and anticipated before the commencement of the study and, therefore, no control measures are set in place (Nieswiadomy, 2012). Such variables are known as the confounding variables (Kaur, 2013). For this study, some extraneous variables did not get control measures and, thereby, affected the outcomes for the study. Being a frail elderly population, the learning efficiency of these set participants would have been put into consideration. Despite the participants receiving pre-recorded instructions, their age called for a longer period of adjustment and familiarization with the new program and different postures. This was not put into consideration and it would have required a longer period for carrying out the analysis for more significant results to be acquired. The exercise behaviors of the population were not considered. This implies that the population would have required true randomization to select the members of the control and intervention group.


The article critiqued in the discussion above sought to establish how yoga exercises customized for the frail elderly individuals improved their physical fitness. The study had clearly distinguished independent variables (Silver Yoga Exercise Program) and dependent variables (physical fitness). This dependent variable for the study was developed for the study framework that included the muscle strength and flexibility. These variables were then defined conceptually into body composition, cardiovascular-respiratory functions, flexibility, power and endurance, balance, and agility (Chin et al., 2010). These were then defined operationally into smaller components that were more specific and measurable. The extraneous variables identified and control instituted includes the instructor and nature of instructions. The uncontrolled extraneous variables identified include time frame for learning as well as need for total randomization between control interventions groups (Chin et al., 2010).


Chin, K., Fan, J., Wang, H., Wu, S., Li, C., & Lin, H. (2010). Silver yoga exercises improved physical fitness of transitional frail elders. Nursing Research, 59(5), 364-370.

 Kaur, S. P. (2013). Variables in research. Indian J Res Rep Med Sci, 4, 36-8. Nieswiadomy, R. (2012). Foundations of Nursing Research (6th Ed.). Boston: Pearson.

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