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Joke Opdenacker and Filip Boen

Background:

Follow-up support increases the effectiveness of physical activity interventions. This study evaluates the effectiveness of 2 support modes on physical activity and mental health.

Methods:

University employees were randomly assigned to a coaching program with 4 face-to-face (N = 33) or telephone-based (N = 33) support contacts. Both programs included an initial face-to-face intake session and an informational brochure. Physical activity, trait anxiety, self-efficacy, and social support were measured by self-report before and after the interventions that lasted 3 months.

Results:

Both groups increased leisure-time physical activity, self-efficacy, and social support and decreased sitting time and trait anxiety. The only significant time by group interaction was found for active transportation. More specifically, participants in the face-to-face group reported a significant increase in their active transportation from pretest to posttest, whereas participants in the telephone group reported no significant change.

Conclusions:

Both face-to-face support and telephone support proved to be effective in increasing the physical activity level and mental health of university employees.

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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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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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Jan Seghers, Ann-Sophie Van Hoecke, Astrid Schotte, Joke Opdenacker and Filip Boen

Background:

Self-efficacy has been found to be an important precondition for behavioral change in sedentary people. The current study examined the effectiveness and added value of including a 15-minute selfefficacy coaching at the start of a 12-week lifestyle physical activity (PA) program.

Methods:

Participants were randomly assigned to a standard-intervention group (without additional self-efficacy coaching, N = 116) or extra-intervention group (with additional self-efficacy coaching, N = 111). Body mass index (BMI), cardiovascular fitness, self-reported PA, and self-efficacy beliefs were assessed at baseline and immediately after the intervention period. Perceived adherence to the PA program was assessed postintervention.

Results:

At posttest, a significant increase in cardiovascular fitness and decrease in BMI were found in both groups. Significant intervention effects emerged on PA behavior, self-efficacy, and program adherence, in favor of the extra-intervention group. Self-efficacy mediated the intervention effect on program adherence whereas no evidence was found for its role as mediator of PA change.

Conclusions:

Adding a 15-minute self-efficacy coaching at the start of a lifestyle PA program is a promising strategy to enhance the intervention effects on PA behavior, self-efficacy beliefs, and program adherence. However, the role of self-efficacy as mediator of the intervention effect on in PA was not fully supported.