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Johanna Popp, Nanna Notthoff and Lisa Marie Warner

Older adults process and remember positive information relatively better than negative information, compared with younger adults; this is known as the positivity effect. This study examined whether older adults compared with younger adults also respond differently to positively and negatively framed questionnaire items. Participants (N = 275; age = 18–81 years) were randomly assigned to a positively or negatively framed version of a self-efficacy for physical activity questionnaire. Self-efficacy, physical activity intentions, and planned physical activity in the following week were regressed on experimental group and age, controlling for baseline physical activity and covariates. A significant Age × Frame interaction showed that item framing made a difference in planned physical activity for the oldest age group (+350 min compared with the youngest group). This study provides initial support for the positivity effect in item framing on physical activity plans, but not on intentions or self-efficacy. Item framing should be taken into consideration for accurate measurement, but could also be a simple intervention approach.

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Quinn Malone, Steven Passmore and Michele Maiers

Different techniques used to analyze and reduce accelerometer data may impact its interpretation. To determine which variables were impacted by changing analysis parameters, the authors performed a secondary analysis of data gained from a clinical trial conducted on older adults (aged ≥65 years; M = 71.1 and SD = 5.3; n = 100) with neck and back disabilities and compared the effects of two different cut- point sets (Matthews and Freedson sets) commonly used to analyze older adult accelerometry data. The Matthews set was found to assign significantly greater moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day than the Freedson set in all comparisons. This suggests that, if moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per unit time is a primary outcome measure, the choice of which analysis method is used should be carefully considered. Further results from analyses of dependent variables, time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity bouts of >10 min/day, mean bout length, and number of bouts per day are discussed.

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Andreas Heissel, Anou Pietrek, Michael A. Rapp, Stephan Heinzel and Geoffrey Williams

The role of perceived need support from exercise professionals in improving mental health was examined in a sample of older adults, thereby validating the short Health Care Climate Questionnaire. A total of 491 older people (M = 72.68 years; SD = 5.47) attending a health exercise program participated in this study. Cronbach’s alpha was found to be high (α = .90). Satisfaction with the exercise professional correlated moderately with the short Health Care Climate Questionnaire mean value (r = .38; p < .01). The mediator analyses yielded support for the self-determination theory process model in older adults by showing both basic need satisfaction and frustration as mediating variables between perceived autonomy support and depressive symptoms. The short Health Care Climate Questionnaire is an economical instrument for assessing basic need satisfaction provided by the exercise therapist from the participant’s perspective. Furthermore, this cross-sectional study supported the link from coaching style to the satisfaction/frustration of basic psychological needs, which in turn, predicted mental health. Analyses of criterion validity suggest a revision of the construct by integrating need frustration.

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Shirley M. Bluethmann, Wayne Foo, Renate M. Winkels, Scherezade K. Mama and Kathryn H. Schmitz

Purpose: (a) To describe the relationship of multimorbidity and physical activity (PA) in cancer survivors and (b) to explore perceived disability and PA in middle-aged and older survivors. Methods: The authors analyzed the data from cancer survivors (N = 566), identified using the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, who responded to a Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System-derived questionnaire. They created age groups (e.g., 45–54 years, 55–64 years, 65–74 years, and 75 years and older) and calculated a composite score of eight common comorbidities (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease) to assess multimorbidity. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association of demographic and behavioral/clinical risk factors (e.g., multimorbidity, perceived disability, body mass index) with PA. Results: Most respondents were females (62%), older (mean age = 68 years) and represented diverse cancer sites, including breast (n = 132), colorectal (n = 102), gynecologic (n = 106), prostate (n = 111), and lung (n = 80). PA participation was mixed; 44% of survivors reported achieving >150 min of aerobic PA, but half of lung and 37% of gynecologic survivors reported no PA (0 min/week). Higher multimorbidity (odds ratio = 0.82, confidence  interval [0.69, 0.98], p < .05), obesity (odds ratio = 0.51, confidence  interval [0.30, 0.86], p < .05), and perceived disability (odds ratio = 0.49, confidence  interval [0.32, 0.77], p < .001) were negatively associated with PA participation. Strength training was suboptimal across all survivors. Conclusion: Most older survivors experienced comorbid conditions, and this was associated with less PA. Survivors who perceived themselves as disabled or who were obese were half as likely as others to participate in PA. This suggests an increasing need to address both physical and psychological limitations in designing PA interventions for real-world needs. Exercise interventions that address the unique needs of older survivors for multimorbidity, obesity, and perceived disability may strengthen opportunities for PA.

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Nicolas Hobson, Sherry L. Dupuis, Lora M. Giangregorio and Laura E. Middleton

Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia are often physically inactive, despite associated benefits. This study explored the barriers, facilitators, and preferences for exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The authors conducted 2 focus groups among persons living with MCI/early dementia (n = 4, 6 participants) and 2 focus groups among care partners (n = 3, 4 participants). The transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis, guided by the social-ecological model. Three themes emerged, reinforcing motivation to exercise, managing changes to cognitive and physical health, and variable perceptions of dementia, each with influences from individual, care partner, and community levels. Low intrinsic motivation, poor physical/cognitive health, and stigma restricted the exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The care partners motivated their partners and provided company and transportation to exercise. People with MCI/early dementia also indicated poor access to exercise providers and exercise opportunities that met their needs and preferences was a barrier to exercise participation. Knowledge translation research should develop exercise interventions at the individual, social, and community levels.

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Akio Kubota, Alison Carver and Takemi Sugiyama

This cross-sectional study examined associations of local social engagement with walking and sitting, and whether these associations were modified by local environmental attributes. Older residents (aged 65–84 years, n = 849), recruited from a regional city in Japan, reported walking frequency, sitting time, local social engagement, and local environmental attributes. Walk Score® was also used as an environmental measure. Analysis of data from 705 participants found that engaging in community activities was significantly associated with more frequent walking, but not with prolonged sitting. Interaction analyses between social engagement and environmental attributes did not show any significant interactions, suggesting that promoting local social engagement may increase walking frequency among older adults, regardless of local environmental characteristics. Community-level social initiatives that encourage older adults to participate in local meetings, events, and activities may be an effective physical activity promotion strategy among older adults.

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Armand A. Buzzelli and Jason A. Draper

Pickleball, a paddle sport that combines aspects of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, is one of the fastest growing sports in America. The sport is especially popular with older adults as it provides a means for both competition and exercise. Limited research is available on the motivation and perceived benefits of participants in this unique and growing community. A total of 3,012 participants completed a survey instrument that included items from the Sport Motivation Scale, the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire, and the Quality and Importance of Recreational Services. Participants reported being more task oriented than ego oriented, suggesting that pickleball may effectively satisfy the need for persons to be engaged in physical activities that allow for the ongoing development of personal mastery. This finding is supported by respondents noting that their primary motivation to participate in pickleball involved mastering difficult training techniques. However, participants cited competition as the top perceived benefit to their participation. This result supports two possible conclusions that motivation and benefit are different and potentially disconnected constructs or that the benefit of competition among this sample of older persons is understood through the lens of personal mastery, whereby the demonstration of that mastery is only possible through competition.

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Mark Ward, Sarah Gibney, David O’Callaghan and Sinead Shannon

Despite the benefits, one in three older adults in Ireland has low activity levels. This study examined associations between the local social and built environment and physical activity of older adults to identify age-friendly factors that support physical activity among the aging population. Data were from the population-representative Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative Age-Friendly City and Counties Survey (N = 10,540). Physical activity was measured using a short-form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Mixed-effects negative binomial regression models were adjusted for known health and sociodemographic correlates of physical activity. Results are reported as unstandardized beta coefficients (β) with standard errors. Loneliness, community participation, and difficulty in accessing green spaces partially explained the differences in the number of minutes that respondents were physically active. Combined with individual-level behavior change interventions, improvements to the local environment and promoting social connectedness may also be useful in promoting physical activity among older adults.

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Ka Man Leung and Pak-Kwong Chung

This study examined the associations between physical environment, social environment, and walking for transportation and recreation among older adults in Hong Kong. Cross-sectional data from 450 older adults (79 years or younger [71.9%], female [79.7%]) from 18 districts in Hong Kong were used. The participants’ perceptions of their physical and social environments were collected, and their walking behaviors were self-reported. The results revealed that positive physical environment facilitators and social environments were associated with increased total walking. Only positive physical environment facilitators were associated with increased walking for transportation, and physical and social environments had no notable effect on walking for recreation. These findings suggest that policy makers and walking intervention designers should develop strategies to enhance physical and social environments to promote total walking and walking for transportation.

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Julia C. Orri, Elizabeth M. Hughes, Deepa G. Mistry and Antone Scala

The authors compared the linear and nonlinear heart rate variability dynamics from rest through maximal exercise in postmenopausal women who trained at either moderate or high intensities. The outcome variables included the RR triangular index, TINN, SD1, SD2, SD1/SD2, DFA α1, DFA α2, and α1/α2. Maximal exercise reduced SD1, SD2, DFA α1, DFA α2, α1/α2, RRTri, and TINN in both groups and increased SD1/SD2 (p < .05). Two minutes of active recovery produced significant increases in SD1, SD2, DFA α1, and TINN, compared with exercise in both groups (p < .0001). There was also a significant main effect between groups for RRTri during exercise recovery, with the moderate group achieving higher levels (p < .04). The authors have shown that both moderate and vigorous exercise training can lead to a healthy response to maximal exercise and recovery, with the moderate group having a slightly improved recovery in the triangular index.