The Association of Physical-Performance Level with Attitude Toward Exercise in Older Adults

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The Hebrew Home Study of Impairment and Exercise is a cross-sectional community-based study of nondisabled adults age 75–85 years that assessed attitude toward exercise by asking level of agreement with four statements evaluating participants’ perceptions of the health benefits and personal rewards of exercise. A physical-performance battery evaluated lower extremity function on a scale of 0 to 12. Attitude toward exercise was compared across 4 groups: non-vigorous exercisers with scores of 4–6 (n = 21), 7–9 (n = 90), or 10–12 (n = 113) and vigorous exercisers (n = 71). Vigorous exercisers had a significantly better attitude toward exercise than the reference group did, with odds ratios of 1.8-5.5 in all attitude statements. The lowest and moderate-performance groups had less positive attitudes toward exercise than the reference group did, with odds ratios of 0.27–0.62 for all statements. There was a highly significant gradient with better attitude toward exercise and higher functional-status level. Future work in improving older adults’ compliance with exercise should take into account the less positive attitude of those with functional limitations toward the benefits of exercise.

Chang and Guralnik are with the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, Natl. Institute on Aging, Natl. Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892. Leveille is with the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged, Research and Training Institute, 1200 Centre St., Boston, MA, 02131. Cohen-Mansfield is with the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington Research Institute, 6121 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD, 20852.