This study investigated the associations of personal goals with exercise activity, as well as the relationships between exercise-related and other personal goals, among older women. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs were used with a sample of 308 women ages 66–79 at baseline. Women who reported exercise-related personal goals were 4 times as likely to report high exercise activity at baseline than those who did not report exercise-related goals. Longitudinal results were parallel. Goals related to cultural activities, as well as to busying oneself around the home, coincided with exercise-related goals, whereas goals related to own and other people’s health and independent living lowered the odds of having exercise-related goals. Helping older adults to set realistic exercise-related goals that are compatible with their other life goals may yield an increase in their exercise activity, but this should be evaluated in a controlled trial.
Saajanaho, Viljanen, Rantakokko, Tsai, and Rantanen are with the Gerontology Research Center, Dept. of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Read is with the Dept. of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. Kaprio is with the Dept. of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Jylhä is with the Gerontology Research Center, School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland. Address author correspondence to Milla Saajanaho at firstname.lastname@example.org