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Determinants of Neighborhood Activity of Adults Age 70 and Over: A Mixed-Methods Study

Afroditi Stathi, Holly Gilbert, Kenneth R. Fox, Jo Coulson, Mark Davis, and Janice L. Thompson

Background:

This mixed-methods study investigated personal, interpersonal, and environmental factors salient to decisions about being active in neighborhoods of different levels of deprivation.

Methods:

Twenty-five participants age 70 years and older (10 women) with diverse physical activity levels provided data on their weekly activity patterns (using accelerometry) and their perceived barriers to exercise (questionnaire). They also participated in semistructured individual interviews exploring the barriers and facilitators influencing neighborhood activity.

Results:

Functional limitations, lack of intrinsic motivation, and not having an activity companion were the highest impact barriers. Walkable access to amenities, positive physical activity perceptions, and existing habit of being active were the highest impact facilitators.

Conclusions:

The perceived quality and accessibility of the built and natural environments influence neighborhood activity in older adults. However, this relationship might be altered through the influence of personal and interpersonal determinants such as maintenance of good health and functional ability and supportive social networks.

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Objectively Measured Sedentary Time and its Association With Physical Function in Older Adults

Mark G. Davis, Kenneth R. Fox, Afroditi Stathi, Tanya Trayers, Janice L. Thompson, and Ashley R. Cooper

The relationship of objectively measured sedentary time (ST), frequency of breaks in ST, and lower extremity function (LEF) was investigated in a diverse sample aged ≥ 70 years (n = 217). Physical activity (PA) was assessed by accelerometry deriving moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) minutes per registered hour (MVPA min · hr−1), registered ST (ST min · hr−1), and breaks in ST min · hr−1 (breaks · hr−1). LEF was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Univariate associations with overall LEF were MVPA (r = .523), ST (r = −.499), and breaks (r = .389). Adjusted linear regression including MVPA min · hr−1, ST min · hr−1, and breaks · hr−1 explained 41.5% of LEF variance. Each additional break · hr−1 was associated with 0.58 point increase in LEF. Breaks and MVPA had strongest independent associations with LEF. Promoting regular breaks might be useful in maintaining or increasing LEF and later life independence. This novel finding is important for the design of effective lifestyle interventions targeting older adults.