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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.

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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.