Resistance training (RT) can maintain and improve physical and mental health in older adults, but this population has low levels of RT participation. Linking older people participating in RT (i.e., peers) with those who have not may promote and maintain adherence. This qualitative study explored the experience of peers in encouraging RT participation among older adults. Data were collected using focus groups, researcher observations, and semistructured interviews. Thematic analysis was conducted. Older people (n = 8) who engaged in RT prior to recruitment, participated as peers. Each provided peer support for between one and four RT participants for 6 weeks. The peer role was perceived by peers as potentially leading to a relationship which benefitted both parties. Peers reported that helping and supporting others was a positive experience and raised their self-efficacy. Difficulty initiating contact and differing expectations of peers and RT participants were viewed as challenges. Peer mentoring could help promote RT participation among older adults.
Paige M. Watkins, Elissa Burton, and Anne-Marie Hill
Paige Watkins, Anne-Marie Hill, Ian K. Thaver, and Elissa Burton
The aim of this qualitative exploratory study was to investigate older adults’ perceptions of having a peer to encourage their participation in resistance training. The participants were recruited from a retirement village to undergo a 6-week resistance training program. Some participants attended a center; others participated in their home. Data were collected via semistructured interviews and analyzed thematically using a six-phase framework to obtain the participants’ perspectives about the peer support they received. The participants (n = 21) had divergent views about peer support, with some finding it enabling, while others did not find it helpful. Overall, the participants suggested that peer support could be beneficial if offered as a choice. Further research is needed to determine whether peer support assists in sustaining resistance training engagement among older adults when the aspect of choice is included.
Elissa Burton, Karen Levit, Jim Codde, Keith D. Hill, and Anne-Marie Hill
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.
Simone Pettigrew, Elissa Burton, Kaela Farrier, Anne-Marie Hill, Liz Bainbridge, Gill Lewin, Phil Airey, and Keith Hill
Older people are less likely to engage in strength training than their younger counterparts, despite the substantial benefits of this form of exercise for preventing and addressing age-related physical decline. In many countries, strength training programs are available for older people yet are undersubscribed. The aim of this study was to identify the factors influencing older people’s participation in strength training at gyms and fitness centers to provide insights into potentially effective recruitment and retention strategies for this population. A total of 79 individuals from four stakeholder groups (seniors, fitness center instructors and managers, health practitioners, and those involved in policy) were interviewed to identify and explicate relevant factors. A detailed typology was developed that provides insights into potential strategies at five ecological system levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, social, and policy. The typology can be used as a tool for identifying opportunities to encourage strength training participation among older people.
Elissa Burton, Kaela Farrier, Gill Lewin, Simone Pettigrew, Anne-Marie Hill, Phil Airey, Liz Bainbridge, and Keith D. Hill
Regular participation in resistance training is important for older people to maintain their health and independence, yet participation rates are low. The study aimed to identify motivators and barriers to older people participating in resistance training. A systematic review was conducted including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method studies. Searches generated 15,920 citations from six databases, with 14 studies (n = 1,937 participants) included. In total, 92 motivators and 24 barriers were identified. Motivators specific to participating in resistance training included preventing deterioration (disability), reducing risk of falls, building (toning) muscles, feeling more alert, and better concentration. Looking too muscular and thinking participation increased the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or death, despite the minimal likelihood of these occurring, were barriers. The analysis indicates that increasing participation in resistance training among older people should focus on the specific benefits valued by older people and the dissemination of accurate information to counter misperceptions.
Mandy Peacock, Julie Netto, Polly Yeung, Joanne McVeigh, and Anne-Marie Hill
Pet ownership is associated with increased levels of physical activity (PA) in older adults. Studies have mainly focused on the association between PA and dog walking; however, broader aspects of pet ownership may influence PA. The purpose of this study was to explore the association between pet ownership and incidental and purposeful PA using a mixed methods approach. Participants’ (N = 15) PA was measured for 7 days using accelerometers and diaries. Semistructured interviews explored participants’ perspectives regarding pet-related activities. Participants’ mean (SD) daily step count was 14,204 (5,061) steps, and mean (SD) sedentary time per day was 8.76 (1.18) hr. Participants strongly concurred that their pets were an integral part of their daily lives. Incidental and purposeful PA resulted from participants undertaking pet care and socially interacting with their pets. Pets may interrupt sedentary behaviors by nudging older adults to engage in PA as part of their daily lived experience.
Margaret J.R. Gidgup, Marion Kickett, Tammy Weselman, Keith Hill, Julieann Coombes, Rebecca Ivers, Nicole Bowser, Vilma Palacios, and Anne-Marie Hill
The objective of this qualitative systematic review was to synthesize all evidence to understand the barriers and enablers to older Indigenous peoples (aged 40 years and older) engaging in physical activity. Four databases were searched. Study quality was assessed from an Indigenous perspective, using an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander quality appraisal tool. Data were analyzed using thematic synthesis. There were 4,246 articles screened with 23 articles and one report included from over 30 Indigenous communities across four countries. Cultural Safety and Security was a key enabler, including developing physical activity programs which are led by Indigenous communities and preference Indigenous values. Colonization was a key barrier that created mistrust and uncertainty. Social Determinants of Health, including cost, were supported by successful programs, but if not addressed, were demotivators of engagement. Older Indigenous peoples identified barriers and enablers that can direct the development of sustainable, culturally appropriate physical activity programs.