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  • Author: Frances O’Callaghan x
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Urska Arnautovska, Frances O’Callaghan and Kyra Hamilton

We explored older adults’ experiences of physical activity (PA) and related decision-making processes underlying PA. Twenty Australians (M age = 73.8 years) participated in semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis, and identified themes were matched deductively within motivational, volitional, and implicit processes of the integrated behavior change model for PA. Motivational influences such as participants’ time orientation toward health and perceptions of what PA should be like were frequently featured in participants’ narratives. Volitional processes were also identified, with participants reporting different ways of coping with competing priorities. Physical surroundings and habitual PA were the identified themes within implicit processes. Together, these findings contribute to a better understanding of subjective experiences of older adults regarding PA. They also add to a more contextual understanding of multiple decision-making processes underpinning older adults’ PA engagement. Identified concepts may be used in future research and PA interventions targeting older adults.

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Frances O’Callaghan, Michael O’Callaghan, Gail Williams, William Bor and Jake Najman

Background:

Studies involving animals and older adults suggest that physical activity (PA) might lead to improved cognitive ability in general, and enhanced intelligence scores (IQ) in particular. However, there are few studies involving young persons and none controlling for the possibility that those with better cognitive skills are more likely to engage in PA.

Methods:

Data are from the Mater–University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy. We measured IQ at the 14-year follow-up and IQ and PA at 21 years. Mean IQ scores are presented at the 21-year follow-up adjusted for IQ at 14 years, and PA and other variables.

Results:

Measures of vigorous exercise, less vigorous exercise, walking, and vigorous activity apart from exercise, produced inconsistent results. Increased levels of less vigorous exercise were associated with higher IQ, but neither higher levels of vigorous exercise nor walking were associated with IQ. For vigorous activity at work or in the home, the associations are curvilinear, with more and less activity both associated with lower IQ.

Conclusions:

While there is an association between some indicators of PA and IQ, there was no consistent evidence that higher PA levels might lead to increased IQ scores.