Chronic Osteoarthritis and Adherence to Exercise: A Review of the Literature

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

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Ray Marks
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John P. Allegrante
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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disease that disables many aging adults. People with OA are often asked to adhere to prescribed exercise regimens that must be undertaken in the presence of pain and other disease-related symptoms. We conducted a review of literature that focused on what is known about exercise adherence and the factors that influence exercise adherence among people with OA. Results revealed multiple determinants of exercise adherence; however, these determinants have not been carefully studied in the context of exercise adherence and OA. Almost all studies of exercise adherence among people with OA are short-term and do not use validated measures of adherence. Moreover, poor adherence is the most compelling explanation for the declining impact of the benefits of exercise over time. We conclude that interventions to enhance self-efficacy, social support, and skills in long-term monitoring of progress are necessary to foster exercise adherence among people with OA.

The authors are with the Dept. of Health and Behavior Studies and Center for Health Promotion, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.

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