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Open access

“Now I Am Walking Toward Health”: A Qualitative Study About the Outcomes of Physical Activity Participation That Matter to Older Adults

Peter J. Young, Christine Wallsworth, Hitika Gosal, and Dawn C. Mackey

Background/Objectives: Randomized controlled trials that deliver physical activity interventions have demonstrated benefits for older adults across numerous health outcomes. However, too little attention has been directed to ensuring that such trials are measuring patient-relevant outcomes. To support outcome selection for future trials, the objective of this study was to understand what outcomes related to their physical activity participation older adults find important. Methods: We conducted 12 semistructured interviews with adults aged 65 years and older and analyzed interview transcripts with a reflexive thematic analysis. Results: Older adults desired diverse outcomes from their physical activity participation, ranging from generic (e.g., quality of life) to specific (e.g., leg strength). Relevant outcomes were classified under five themes: physical, clinical, social, psychological, and overarching, each with respective subthemes. Conclusions: The outcomes that older adults found important were plentiful and rooted in a desire to improve their quality of life. Some of the outcome themes have been reported frequently in past trials (e.g., physical), but others have not (e.g., social). Future researchers should be aware of, and responsive to, the priorities of older adults when designing trials and defining outcomes. Significance/Implications: This study will help to improve outcome selection for future trials of physical activity with older adults. In alignment with a patient-oriented research philosophy, this study will also ground future outcome selection in the priorities of older adults.

Open access

Interventions Based on Behavior Change Techniques to Encourage Physical Activity or Decrease Sedentary Behavior in Community-Dwelling Adults Aged 50–70: Systematic Review With Intervention Component Analysis

Saima Ahmed, Kimberly Lazo Green, Lisa McGarrigle, Annemarie Money, Neil Pendleton, and Chris Todd

Increasing physical activity (PA) and/or decreasing sedentary behaviors is important in the delay and prevention of long-term conditions. PA can help maintain function and independence and decrease the need for hospitalization/institutionalization. Activity rates often decline in later life resulting in a need for interventions that encourage uptake and adherence through the use of Behavior Change Techniques (BCTs). We conducted a systematic review of the evidence for interventions that included BCTs in community-dwelling adults with a mean age of 50–70. The review followed PRISMA guidelines. The interventions were psychosocial, nonpharmacological, and noninvasive interventions utilizing components based on BCTs that evaluated change in PA and/or sedentary behavior. Intervention Component Analysis (ICA) was used to synthesize effectiveness of intervention components. Twelve randomized controlled trials were included in this review. The mean sample age was 50–64. Thirteen BCTs were used across all studies, and the most commonly used techniques were goals and planning, feedback and monitoring, and natural consequences. Seven intervention components linked with BCTs were found: personalized goal setting, tailored feedback from facilitators, on-site and postintervention support, education materials and resources, reinforcing change on behavior and attitudes, self-reported monitoring, and social connectedness. All components, except for social connectedness, were associated with improved health behavior and PA levels. The interventions that use BCTs have incorporated strategies that reinforce change in behavior and attitudes toward PA.

Free access

Erratum. Perceived Constraints to Pickleball Participation Among Black Older Adults

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

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The Association Between Physical Activity, Obesity, and Cognition in Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Andrew J. Fiscella and Ross Andel

As rates of obesity continue to rise, so does the impact of obesity on cognitive function. Engaging in physical activity is one pathway through which individuals can help maintain cognitive function. This study examined whether any link between exercise and cognitive function was associated with weight characteristics. Data from 6,012 participants in the Health and Retirement Study were used. The association between participation in light or moderate physical activity and better cognitive function was particularly strong for overweight or obese adults and less so for those who were normal weight. Overall, the findings suggested that while being physically active is associated with better cognitive function regardless of weight, the associations were stronger for individuals who were overweight/obese compared with those who were normal weight. Given the results were particularly pronounced for waist circumference (relative to body mass index), further research should be conducted to examine if individuals with greater abdominal adiposity may benefit most from staying active in terms of their cognitive function.

Open access

Physical Activity Inclusion in Dementia-Friendly Communities: A Mixed Methods Study

Rebecca Hadley, Elspeth Mathie, Elizabeth Pike, and Claire Goodman

Dementia-friendly communities (DFCs) are a policy-endorsed approach to community engagement in England that promotes social inclusion to enable people affected by dementia to live well. Research suggests that physical activity is beneficial in encouraging social connection and improving health. A mixed method sequential study design in England involving a national survey (n = 31) and semistructured interviews (n = 65) in three DFCs was carried out. The aim was to understand how DFCs enable people affected by dementia to participate in physical activities. An evaluation framework for DFCs was used to organize and interpret the data, and analysis was informed by the inclusive (social) citizen lens. Findings showed that DFCs offered a range of adapted dementia-inclusive and dementia-specific activities; however, people were not routinely offered information at time of diagnosis. Local authorities (councils) were key to enable access to information and infrastructure change to support sustainable inclusion within their local community.

Open access

Dementia-Inclusive Choices for Exercise Toolkit: Impact on the Knowledge, Perspectives, and Practices of Exercise Providers

Laura E. Middleton, Chelsea Pelletier, Melissa Koch, Rebekah Norman, Sherry Dupuis, Arlene Astell, Lora Giangregorio, Shannon Freeman, and On behalf of the DICE Research Team

Physical activity improves the well-being of persons living with dementia but few exercise programs include them. The Dementia-Inclusive Choices for Exercise (DICE) toolkit aims to improve exercise providers’ understanding of dementia and ability to support persons living with dementia in physical activity. We evaluated the co-designed DICE toolkit with exercise providers using a mixed-methods approach comprising pre/post questionnaires and interviews and reflection diaries. Among 16 participants, self-efficacy for exercise delivery to persons living with dementia and both knowledge and attitudes toward dementia significantly improved. Thematic analysis suggested participants (a) had a deeper understanding of the variability of dementia, (b) were planning for equitable access for persons living with dementia, (c) planned to promote social connection through exercise, and (d) were optimistic for future engagement with persons living with dementia. The DICE toolkit may improve exercise providers’ knowledge and confidence to plan proactively to support persons living with dementia in programs and services.

Open access

A Mixed Methods Feasibility Study of Machine-Based Resistance Training With Prefrail Older Adults in Residential Care: The Keeping Active in Residential Elderly Trial II

Bridgitte Swales, Gemma C. Ryde, and Anna C. Whittaker

Physical activity is an effective, proactive intervention to reduce or reverse frailty and functional decline. However, uncertainty exists about the feasibility and impact of resistance training on multidimensional health in prefrail older adults in residential care. This mixed methods feasibility study assessed practicability with limited efficacy testing on health and functional outcomes. Eleven prefrail older adults participated in a 6-week progressive resistance training protocol three times per week. The intervention and measures were found to be appropriate and acceptable by those who completed the trial, with participants self-reporting improved well-being, mood, and function. Analysis identified several barriers to recruitment, including prior commitments, seasonal impact, and session timing, and offered potential solutions with further recommendations for program refinement prior to a definitive randomized controlled trial. These findings add to our understanding of prefrail older adults’ preferences regarding participation in physical activity research and the perceived benefits of resistance training. This trial was registered with NCT03141879.

Open access

Movement Patterns in Older Adults Recovering From Hip Fracture

Jules J.M. Kraaijkamp, Marjon Stijntjes, Jurriaan H. De Groot, Niels H. Chavannes, Wilco P. Achterberg, and Eléonore F. van Dam van Isselt

The aim of this study was to quantify physical activity and sedentary behavior in older adults recovering from hip fracture and to identify groups based on movement patterns. In this cross-sectional cohort study, older adults (≥70 years) were included 3 months after surgery for proximal femoral fracture. Patients received an accelerometer for 7 days. Demographics and outcomes related to physical function, mobility, cognitive functions, quality of life, and hip fracture were assessed. In total, 43 patients with sufficient accelerometer wear time were included. Across all groups, participants engaged in very low levels of physical activity, spending an average of 11 hr/day in prolonged sedentary behavior. Based on the extracted components from a principal component analysis, three groups with substantial differences in levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior could be distinguished.

Open access

The Exercise Right for Active Ageing Study: Participation in Community-Based Exercise Classes by Older Australians During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Christina L. Ekegren, Darshini Ayton, Helen Skouteris, and Sze-Ee Soh

The aim of this study was to determine factors associated with participation of community-dwelling older Australians (≥65 years) in the Exercise Right for Active Ageing program, consisting of 12 low- to moderate-intensity group exercise classes, delivered weekly, in person or online, by accredited exercise scientists and physiologists across Australia. Out of 6,949 participants recruited, 6,626 (95%) attended one or more classes and were included in the primary analysis, and 49% of participants attended all 12 classes. Factors associated with higher class attendance included participation in yoga/flexibility/mobility classes, attendance at a free trial class (adjusted incidence rate ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.05 [1.03, 1.08]), and attending online classes (1.19 [1.11, 1.26]). Factors associated with lower class attendance included state of residence, living in inner regional areas (0.95 [0.93, 0.98]), and having two or more comorbidities (0.97 [0.95, 0.99]). High class attendance suggests that the Exercise Right for Active Ageing program was well received by older Australians, particularly in states less impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns.

Free access

Erratum. Effects of Dancing Associated With Resistance Training on Functional Parameters and Quality of Life of Aging Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity