This study was conducted to determine the characteristics of health and physical function that are associated with not starting strength and balance training (SBT). The study population consisted of 339 community-dwelling individuals (75–98 years, 72% female). As part of a population-based intervention study they received comprehensive geriatric assessment, physical activity counseling, and had the opportunity to take part in SBT at the gym once a week. Compared with the SBT-adopters, the nonadopters (n = 157, 46%) were older and less physically active, had more comorbidities and lower cognitive abilities, more often had sedative load of drugs or were at the risk of malnutrition, had lower grip strength and more instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) difficulties, and displayed weaker performance in Berg Balance Scale and Timed Up and Go assessments. In multivariate models, higher age, impaired cognition, and lower grip strength were independently associated with nonadoption. In the future, more individually-tailored interventions are needed to overcome the factors that prevent exercise initiation.
Aartolahti and Häkkinen are with the Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Hartikainen is with Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland and the School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland. Lönnroos is with the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, Department of Geriatrics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland. Häkkinen is also with the Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Central Finland Health Care District, Jyväskylä, Finland.