“Are Your Clients Having Fun?” The Implications of Respondents’ Preferences for the Delivery of Group Exercise Programs for Falls Prevention

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Background:

Group exercise has been shown to be effective in preventing falls; however, adherence to these interventions is often poor. Older adults’ preferences for how these programs can be delivered are unknown.

Objective:

To identify older people’s preferences for how group exercise programs for falls prevention can be delivered.

Design:

A two-wave, cross-sectional, state-wide telephone survey was undertaken. Respondents were community-dwelling men and women aged 70+ in Victoria, Australia.

Methods:

Open-ended questions were asked to elicit information regarding respondent preferences of the program, which were analyzed using a framework approach.

Results:

Ninetyseven respondents completed the follow-up survey. The results indicate that older adults most frequently report the short-term advantages and disadvantages when describing their preferences for group exercise, such as enjoyment, social interaction, and leader qualities. Longer-term advantages such as falls prevention were described less frequently.

Conclusions:

This study indicates the importance of interpersonal skills, and that the opportunity for social interaction should not be overlooked as a positive feature of a group exercise program.

McPhate, Simek, and Haines are with the Physiotherapy Department, Monash University, Frankston, Victoria, Australia. Haines is also with Monash Health, Allied Health Research Unit, Kingston Centre, Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia. Hill is with the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Finch is with the Centre for Healthy and Safe Sport, University of Ballarat, SMB Campus, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Day is with the Monash Injury Research Institute, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Terry P. Haines at terrence.haines@monash.edu.au.