Increasing physical activity (PA) levels in older adults represents an important public health challenge. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of combining individualized motivational messaging with pedometer walking step targets to increase PA in previously inactive and insufficiently active older adults.
In this 12-week intervention study older adults were randomized to 1 of 4 study arms: Group 1—control; Group 2—pedometer 10,000 step goal; Group 3—pedometer step goal plus individualized motivational feedback; or Group 4—everything in Group 3 augmented with biweekly telephone feedback.
81 participants were randomized into the study, 61 participants completed the study with an average age of 63.8 ± 6.0 years. Group 1 did not differ in accumulated steps/day following the 12-week intervention compared with participants in Group 2. Participants in Groups 3 and 4 took on average 2159 (P < .001) and 2488 (P < .001) more steps/day, respectively, than those in Group 1 after the 12-week intervention.
In this 12-week pilot randomized control trial, a pedometer feedback intervention partnered with individually matched motivational messaging was an effective intervention strategy to significantly increase PA behavior in previously inactive and insufficiently active older adults.
Strath, Swartz, Miller, Grimm, and Cashin are with the Dept of Human Movement Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI. Parker is with the Dept of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.