This study aimed to ascertain perceived barriers and motivators to exercise in people age 74–85 and to clarify the meaning of these barriers and motivators by examining participant characteristics that relate to them. 324 community-dwelling participants age 74–85 completed a health questionnaire that included items on barriers and motivators to exercise, as well as questions on demographic variables, health, and exercise. Selected participants then completed a physical-performance battery to measure functional performance. Barriers and motivators were related internally, as well as to many other factors including pain and depressed affect on the Geriatric Depression Scale. The findings suggest a need for individualized and comprehensive approaches to the presentation of exercise programs. Health interventions are needed that will address both physical pain and depressed affect and explain the importance of exercise even in the presence of health problems. An understanding of the context of reported barriers and motivators is necessary for correct interpretation and program development.
Cohen-Mansfield and Marx are with the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Research Institute on Aging, 6121 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD, 20852. Guralnik is with the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, Natl. Institute on Aging, Natl. Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892.