Entry Correlates and Motivations of Older Adults Participating in Organized Exercise Programs

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This study reports entry correlates and motivations of older adults participating in organized exercise programs in the Netherlands, as determined in a descriptive explorative study (N = 2,350, response rate 86%). Participants were community-dwelling older adults (50+ years) who enrolled and started in 10 different exercise programs. Entry features were analyzed for differences in age, sex, marital status, education, living situation, body-mass index, lifestyle, and health status. Motivations for entering an exercise program were determined using homogeneity analyses. More Exercise for Seniors (MBvO) attracted relatively older seniors, whereas organized sports mainly attracted younger ones. Walking, MBvO, and gymnastics attracted more women, whereas skating and table tennis were reported to attract more male participants. Badminton and cycling attracted relatively higher educated participants, whereas MBvO attracted relatively lower educated participants. Three distinct motivational constructs were found: relax and enjoy, care and cure, and competition. Public health and recruitment implications of these findings are discussed.

Stiggelbout is with the Netherlands Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NIGZ), Woerden, the Netherlands. Hopman-Rock is with the Dept. of Physical Activity and Health, TNO Quality of Life, Leiden, the Netherlands. van Mechelen is with the Dept. of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.