Little is known about the effectiveness of self-determination theory (SDT), a representative motivational theory, on exercise domain in older adults. This feasibility study used quantitative and qualitative approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of a 13-month group exercise program applying SDT-based motivational strategies on exercise adherence, physical fitness, and quality of life, and to explore factors affecting exercise adherence in South Korean older adults (N = 18). Exercise attendance rate was high (82.52%). There were significant differences in aerobic endurance (p < .001), lower body strength (p < .05), dynamic balance (p < .001), and perceived social functioning (p < .05) at 13 months compared with baseline. Factors affecting exercise adherence were related to the SDT-based motivational strategies. These results support the importance of health professionals applying SDT-based motivational strategies to exercise programs to help facilitate motivation for participation and to promote physical fitness and quality of life in older adults.
Lee, J. Kim, Jo, and Yoon are with the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Science, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. M-J Kim is with the Health Science Research Institute, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea; and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kyung Hee University, Suwon, South Korea. Suh is with the Joint Rehabilitation Center, Barunsesang Hospital, Seongnam, South Korea.