Consideration of Older Adults’ Preferences for Format of Physical Activity

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Most community-based physical activity interventions for older adults prescribe class-based activities that may not appeal to everyone. This paper describes physical activity format preferences in a sample of 98 older adults (mean age = 76 ± 8 years) enrolled in an exercise promotion program encouraging participation in class-based activities offered by the community; the study explores how these preferences are related to activity adoption and maintenance. Thirty-four percent of respondents preferred to exercise individually. 28% preferred to exercise in a group, and 39% had no preference. Those who preferred exercising individually were less likely to adopt a new class than those who preferred to exercise in a group and those who had no preference (p < .01). Programs taking into account individual preferences may be more successful than those offering specific formats.

Kristin M. Mills and Anita L. Stewart are with the Institute for Health and Aging, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0646. Peter G. Sepsis is with the Performance Analysis Department, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, CA 94612. Abby C. King is with the Department of Health Research and Policy, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94304-1583.