Are the Attitudes of Exercise Instructors Who Work With Older Adults Influenced by Training and Personal Characteristics?

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Little is known about the relationship between attitudes and characteristics of instructors and uptake and adherence of older people to exercise classes. This article explores these issues.

Methods:

The authors surveyed 731 UK exercise instructors with specialist older adult exercise qualifications. A questionnaire investigated instructors’ characteristics and attitudes toward older adults’ participation in exercise.

Results:

For mostly seated classes, EXTEND qualification (B = 0.36, p = .005) had a positive effect on instructors’ attitudes. Later Life Training qualification (B = −2.80, p = .003), clinical background (B = −3.99, p = .005), and delivering classes in National Health Services (B = −3.12, p < .001), leisure centers (B = −2.75, p = .002), or nursing homes (B = −2.29, p = .005) had a negative effect on attitudes. For mostly standing classes, experience (B = 0.20, p = .003) and delivering in leisure centers (B = 0.46, p = .032) had a positive and clinical background (B = −1.78, p = .018) had a negative effect on instructors’ attitudes.

Conclusions:

Most instructors have positive attitudes, but training and work context can influence attitudes toward older people’s participation in exercise classes both positively and negatively.

Hawley, Campbell, and Todd are with the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. Skelton is with the School of Health and Social Care, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK.