The 3 study objectives were to compare the activity levels of older people who had received a restorative home care service with those of people who had received “usual” home care, explore the predictors of physical activity in these 2 groups, and determine whether either group met the minimum recommended activity levels for their age group. A questionnaire was posted to 1,490 clients who had been referred for a home care service between 2006 and 2009. Older people who had received a restorative care service were more active than those who had received usual care (p = .049), but service group did not predict activity levels when other variables were adjusted for in a multiple regression. Younger individuals who were in better physical condition, with good mobility and no diagnosis of depression, were more likely to be active. Investigation of alternatives to the current exercise component of the restorative program is needed.
Elissa Burton, Gill Lewin, and Duncan Boldy
Elissa Burton, Gill Lewin, and Duncan Boldy
The proportion of older people living in our communities is rising and, to live independently, some require assistance from home care services. Physical activity can improve and maintain function, strength, and balance, which are important for those receiving home care. This study reviewed the evidence on physical activity/exercise interventions trialed with older people receiving a home care service. A systematic review of studies published from January 1982 to September 2012, from five databases, was undertaken. Inclusion criteria were: aged 65+ years; community dwelling; no dementia diagnosis; receiving home care services; and a physical activity/exercise program. Eight articles were included and results show there were few consistencies between intervention types, groups, outcome measures, and follow-up. Study quality was mixed. Future studies should include pragmatic randomized controlled trials involving home care practitioners and their clients to gain “real-world” knowledge of what interventions are effective and can be delivered within this setting.
Paige M. Watkins, Elissa Burton, and Anne-Marie Hill
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 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.
Yoke Leng Ng, Keith D. Hill, Pazit Levinger, and Elissa Burton
The objective of this systematic review was to examine the effectiveness of outdoor exercise park equipment on physical activity levels, physical function, psychosocial outcomes, and quality of life of older adults living in the community and to evaluate the evidence of older adults’ use of outdoor exercise park equipment. A search strategy was conducted from seven databases. Nine articles met the inclusion criteria. The study quality results were varied. Meta-analyses were undertaken for two physical performance tests: 30-s chair stand test and single-leg stance. The meta-analysis results were not statistically significant. It was not possible to conclude whether exercise parks were effective at improving levels of physical activity. The review shows that older adults value the benefits of health and social interaction from the use of exercise parks. Findings should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample sizes and the limited number of studies.
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.