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Joke Opdenacker, Christophe Delecluse and Filip Boen

The objectives of this study were (1) to evaluate the long-term effects of a lifestyle physical activity intervention (n = 60) and a structured exercise intervention (n = 60) on physical self-perceptions and self-esteem in older adults compared with a control group (n = 66), and (2) to test the longitudinal fit of the exercise and self-esteem model (EXSEM). Immediately after the 11-month interventions, the lifestyle group showed significant improvements in self-perceived physical condition, sport competence, body attractiveness, and physical self-worth. In the structured group, significant effects were found on physical condition and sport competence. One year later, the lifestyle program had significant effects on body attractiveness and global self-esteem, while the structured group showed significant improvements in physical condition, sport competence, and body attractiveness. Path analyses revealed a good fit for the EXSEM across the 2-year period.

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Sofie Martien, Christophe Delecluse, Jan Seghers and Filip Boen

The primary purpose of this study was to assess the validity of two motion sensors in measuring steps in institutionalized older adults during daily life activities. Sixty-eight nursing home residents (85.8 ± 5.6 years) were equipped with a hip-worn and ankle-worn piezoelectric pedometer (New Lifestyles 2000) and with an arm-mounted multisensor (SenseWear Mini). An investigator with a hand counter tallied the actual steps. The results revealed that the multisensor and hip- and ankle-worn pedometer significantly underestimated step counts (89.6 ± 17.2%, 72.9 ± 25.8%, and 20.8 ± 24.6%, respectively). Walking speed accounted for 41.6% of the variance in percent error of the ankle-worn pedometer. The threshold value for accurate step counting was set at 2.35 km/hr, providing percent error scores within ± 5%. The ankle-worn piezoelectric pedometer can be useful for accurate quantification of walking steps in the old and old-old (> 85 years) walking faster than 2.35 km/hr.

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Ann-Sophie Van Hoecke, Christophe Delecluse, An Bogaerts and Filip Boen


This study evaluated the long-term effectiveness of multiple physical activity counseling strategies on subjective health among older adults.


Sedentary older adults (n = 442) were randomized to 3 programs: (1) a one-contact referral to locally organized physical activities, (2) a one-contact provision of a walking program, (3) a 10-week multiple-contact physical activity coaching based on the Self-Determination Theory. Self-reports on well-being, trait anxiety and physical activity were completed at baseline (pretest), and 10 weeks after (10-week follow-up), 1 year after (1-year follow-up) and 2 years after (2-year follow-up) pretests.


All 3 programs yielded improvements in well-being and trait anxiety from pretest to 10-week follow-up and to 1-year follow-up. From pretest to 2-year follow-up, no changes emerged in well-being whereas trait anxiety increased significantly. Changes over time in well-being and anxiety were not significantly different between the programs. Changes in physical activity contributed significantly to the prediction of changes in well-being and trait anxiety.


The findings demonstrate the year-round effectiveness of physical activity counseling on subjective health among older adults, irrespective of counseling strategy. However, a relapse to baseline level occurred 2 years after the intervention. Physical activity appears to be an important determinant of older adults’ well-being.

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Ann-Sophie Van Hoecke, Christophe Delecluse, An Bogaerts and Filip Boen

This study compared the long-term effectiveness of three physical activity counseling strategies among sedentary older adults: a 1-contact referral (REFER), a 1-contact individualized walking program (WALK), and multiple-contact, individually tailored, and need-supportive coaching based on the self-determination theory (COACH). Participants (n = 442) completed measurements before (pretest), immediately after (posttest), and 1 yr after (follow-up test) a 10-wk intervention. Linear mixed models demonstrated significant time-by-condition interaction effects from pre- to posttest. More specifically, WALK and COACH yielded larger increases in daily steps and self-reported physical activity than REFER. Similarly, self-reported physical activity increased more from pre- to follow-up test in WALK and COACH compared with REFER. Autonomous motivation mediated the effect of perceived need-support on physical activity, irrespective of counseling strategy. These results demonstrate the long-term effectiveness of both a 1-contact individualized walking program and a more time-consuming, need-supportive coaching, especially in comparison with a standard referral to local opportunities.

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Johan Pelssers, Christophe Delecluse, Joke Opdenacker, Eva Kennis, Evelien Van Roie and Filip Boen

This study evaluated “Every Step Counts!”—a 10-wk, structured walking intervention in a community-based senior organization—on promoting physical activity participation, fitness, and well-being among older adults (age ≥ 55 yr). The intervention prescribed pedometer-defined walks in weekly walking schedules. These were fitness-tailored and structured in walking load (intensity/volume) according to the principles of training progression. This intervention was offered as a social activity at meeting points of a community-based senior organization. Twenty-nine meeting points (n = 432) constituted the intervention condition. Ten meeting points (n = 148) formed the wait-list control condition. Measurements were organized at intervention start (pretest) and end (posttest). Intention-to-treat linear mixed models showed small positive intervention effects on physical activity, fitness, and aspects of well-being. These results confirm the effectiveness of structured walking interventions with systematic training progression and underscore the value of community-based senior organizations as intervention settings for older adults.

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Evelien Van Roie, Christophe Delecluse, Joke Opdenacker, Katrien De Bock, Eva Kennis and Filip Boen

Two groups of sedentary older adults, participating in either a lifestyle physical activity intervention (LIFE, n = 60) or a structured exercise intervention (STRU, n = 60), were compared with a control group (CO, n = 66) in terms of physical fitness and cardiovascular risk factors. Participants in LIFE were stimulated to integrate physical activity into their daily routines and received an individualized home-based program. Participants in STRU completed 5 supervised training sessions every 2 wk in a fitness center. Both interventions lasted 11 months and focused on endurance, strength, flexibility, and postural/balance exercises. The results revealed that the interventions were equally effective in improving functional performance. STRU was more effective than LIFE in improving cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness. Limited effects emerged on cardiovascular risk, with STRU improving in total cholesterol and HDL. Consequently, interventions aiming at reducing cardiovascular risks among sedentary elderly should focus on long-term changes in physical activity behavior.

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Remco J. Baggen, Jaap H. van Dieën, Sabine M. Verschueren, Evelien Van Roie and Christophe Delecluse

Obtaining true maximum voluntary excitation appears to be more difficult in older populations than in young populations. The aims of this study were (1) to determine whether differences in maximum voluntary excitation obtained from maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) and (sub-)maximum voluntary dynamic contraction [(s-)MVDC] are age dependent, and (2) to determine how normalizing electromyographic signals to corresponding maximum voluntary excitations affects variance between participants and the likelihood of normalized signals exceeding 100%. MVIC, s-MVDC, and MVDC were recorded in 10 young women, and MVIC and s-MVDC were recorded in 19 older women. A significant age × contraction mode interaction effect was found for vastus lateralis (P = .04). In young women, MVDC elicited the highest maximum voluntary excitation for vastus lateralis and rectus femoris (P < .05). In older women, no differences in maximum voluntary excitation were found (P > .05). Normalization to dynamic contractions resulted in lower between-participant variance of electromyography amplitudes, though not for all muscles, and decreased the number of normalized signals exceeding 100% in young women. These findings indicate that differences in maximum voluntary excitation across contraction modes are age dependent. Therefore, one should be cautious when comparing normalized signals between age groups; however, overall dynamic contractions may be preferable over isometric contractions for normalization purposes.

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Ellen Freiberger, Elisabeth Rydwik, Astrid Chorus, Erwin Tak, Christophe Delecluse, Federico Schena, Nina Waaler, Bob Laventure and Nico van Meeteren

Within the context of a globally aging population and associated age-related changes to social relationships and individual psycho-physiology, a coalition of mostly European Union (EU) organizations concerned with physical activity in older persons was formed in 2013. The coalition examined worldwide decreases in physical activity among older adults, and the resulting negative effects on health and function for those individuals. After holding expert panel meetings, the coalition developed recommendations about how to address macro- and microlevel changes to increase and sustain physical activity among older populations across Europe. The recommendations were then compiled into a consensus document called “the Rome Statement”, aimed at older adults, policy makers, researchers, and private and public professionals. This article presents the Rome Statement and its recommendations, and discusses how the statement can be broadly disseminated, considered, and implemented.