Do Peers Increase Older Adults’ Participation in Strength Training? Pilot Randomized Trial

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Fewer than 20% of older adults participate in strength training (ST). Barriers to ST participation include not knowing where to go or not having someone to go with. To address these barriers, the authors provided older adults with a peer (older person already participating in ST) to support their engagement. The aim of this pilot randomized controlled trial was to determine whether older adults who were provided with a peer when participating in ST were more likely to be participating in ST 4 weeks postintervention, compared with those receiving ST alone. Fifty-one ST participants were recruited; 40 completed the intervention and postintervention data collection (78.4%). Providing peer support with ST did not significantly increase ST participation (p = .775). However, both groups made significant improvements over time in lower-limb strength and mobility. Participants in either group who continued the ST program (55%) had made additional significant improvements in lower-limb strength and mobility.

Burton, Levit, Codde, and A. M. Hill are with the Institute for Health Research, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia. Burton and A. M. Hill are also with the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. K. D. Hill is with the Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre, School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Peninsula Campus, Monash University, Frankston, Victoria, Australia.

Burton (elissa.burton@nd.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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