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Cheryl Der Ananian, Sara Wilcox, Ken Watkins, Ruth P. Saunders and Alexandra E. Evans

Most people with arthritis are not regularly active. Understanding what factors influence exercise is essential for designing programs to increase participation. The objective of this study was to examine the correlates of exercise in people with arthritis. Using a cross-sectional design, sociodemographic, health-related, and psychosocial variables were collected from community-dwelling individuals with arthritis (N = 141). Associations with exercise level were examined with bivariate statistics (ANOVAs, chi-squares) and logistic-regression analyses. Exercisers were less likely than nonexercisers and insufficiently active people to report that arthritis negatively affected their physical and social functioning, and they reported more positive affect and greater self-efficacy (p < .05). Exercisers also reported less pain than nonexercisers (p < .05). In multiple logistic-regression analyses, self-efficacy and physical limitations remained independent predictors of exercise. The results suggest the need to target exercise self-efficacy when designing exercise interventions. Results also suggest the need to tailor exercise programs to individuals’ physical limitations.

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Christine B. Phillips, Jerri D. Edwards, Ross Andel and Marcus Kilpatrick

Physical activity (PA) is believed to preserve cognitive function in older adulthood, though little is known about these relationships within the context of daily life. The present microlongitudinal pilot study explored within- and between-person relationships between daily PA and cognitive function and also examined within-person effect sizes in a sample of community-dwelling older adults. Fifty-one healthy participants (mean age = 70.1 years) wore an accelerometer and completed a cognitive assessment battery for five days. There were no significant associations between cognitive task performance and participants’ daily or average PA over the study period. Effect size estimates indicated that PA explained 0–24% of within-person variability in cognitive function, depending on cognitive task and PA dose. Results indicate that PA may have near-term cognitive effects and should be explored as a possible strategy to enhance older adults’ ability to perform cognitively complex activities within the context of daily living.

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Sandra K. Hunter, Martin W. Thompson and Roger D. Adams

The purposes of this study were to investigate the rate of change with age of simple lower-limb reaction time (RT) in women and determine the relationship among RT. strength, and physical activity. Independent, community-dwelling women aged 20–89 years (N = 217) were assessed for knee-extension RT, maximal voluntary isometric contractions of the knee extensors (KE), and physical activity level. Trend analysis by ANOVA and regression analysis on RT were performed. Lower-limb RT increased and KE strength and physical activity level decreased linearly across age groups (p < .001). Active women had faster RTs than those of inactive women of the same age (p < .01). From multiple-regression analysis on RT, only 1 predictor variable. KE strength, emerged. Stronger women had faster RTs than those of weaker women (p < .0001), regardless of age and physical activity. Although RT was slower in older women, higher levels of strength and physical activity were associated with faster RTs in this group.

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Bang Hyun Kim, Roberta A. Newton, Michael L. Sachs, Peter R. Giacobbi Jr. and Joseph J. Glutting

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-wk intervention that used guided relaxation and exercise imagery (GREI) to increase self-reported leisure-time exercise behavior among older adults. A total of 93 community-dwelling healthy older adults (age 70.38 ± 8.15 yr, 66 female) were randomly placed in either a placebo control group or an intervention group. The intervention group received instructions to listen to an audio compact disk (CD) containing a GREI program, and the placebo control group received an audio CD that contained 2 relaxation tracks and instructions to listen to music of their choice for 6 wk. Results revealed that listening to a GREI CD for 6 wk significantly increased self-reported leisure-time exercise behaviors (p = .03). Further exploration of GREI and its effects on other psychological variables related to perceived exercise behaviors may substantiate its effectiveness.

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Lesley Day, Margaret J. Trotter, Alex Donaldson, Keith D. Hill and Caroline F. Finch

The study aim was to evaluate the implementation of group- and home-based exercise falls prevention programs delivered through community health agencies to community-dwelling older people. Interviews with program staff were guided by the Diffusion of Innovations theory. Highly consistent themes emerged for the two types of programs. Both had high overall compatibility, high relative advantage, good observability and high inherent trialability—all factors known to strengthen implementation. The level of complexity and low financial compatibility emerged as the strongest potential inhibitors to program implementation in the context examined. The two main factors contributing to complexity were the need to challenge balance safely across a broad range of capability, and practical considerations associated with program delivery.A range of strategies to provide more technical support for exercise program leaders to tailor balance challenge for exercise program leaders may enhance implementation of falls prevention exercise programs.

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Marissa E. Mendelsohn, Denise M. Connelly, Tom J. Overend and Robert J. Petrella

Although popular in clinical settings, little is known about the utility of all-extremity semirecumbent exercise machines for research. Twenty-one community-dwelling older adults performed two exercise trials (three 4-min stages at increasing workloads) to evaluate the reliability and validity of exercise responses to submaximal all-extremity semirecumbent exercise (BioStep). Exercise responses were measured directly (Cosmed K4b2) and indirectly through software on the BioStep. Test–retest reliability (ICC2,1) was moderate to high across all three stages for directly measured METs (.92, .87, and .88) and HR (.91, .83, and .86). Concurrent criterion validity between the K4b2 and BioStep MET values was moderate to very good across the three stages on both Day 1 (r = .86, .71, and .83) and Day 2 (r = .73, .87, and .72). All-extremity semirecumbent submaximal exercise elicited reliable and valid responses in our sample of older adults and thus can be considered a viable exercise mode.

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Jill A. Bennett, Kerri Winters-Stone, Lillian M. Nail and Jennifer Scherer

This review describes the definitions of sedentary used to screen community-dwelling adults in physical-activity-intervention trials published from 2000 to 2005. Results of 42 trials showed that definitions of sedentary varied from <20 to <150 min/week of physical activity, and few reported the type (work, household, or leisure) or intensity of activity that was used to screen participants. The range of “sedentary” samples makes it difficult to compare trial results or generalize findings. Published reports of exercise trials would be more useful to practitioners and researchers if they included an explicit description of the cut point used to define sedentary adults in the sample, in terms of maximum minutes or days per week of activity and the wording of the screening measure in terms of type and intensity of activity.

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Kristin Musselman and Brenda Brouwer

This study examined gender differences in balance, gait, and muscle performance in seniors and identified gender-specific factors contributing to physical performance. Forty (20 men, 20 women) healthy, community-dwelling seniors (74.5 ± 5.3 years) participated. Limits of stability, gait speed, lower limb flexor and extensor isokinetic concentric peak torques, self-reported activity level, and balance confidence were measured. No gender differences were detected in gait speed, limits of stability when normalized to height, activity level, or balance confidence (p ≥ .188). Women were weaker than men (p ≤ .007), even after controlling for weight and body-mass index, suggesting that other gender-related factors contribute to strength. Gender accounted for 18–46% of the variance in strength and served as a modifier of the relationship between activity level and strength in some muscle groups. The primary factors relating to gender-specific strength was activity level in men and body weight in women.

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Barbara Resnick, Kathleen Michael, Marianne Shaughnessy, Eun Shim Nahm, Susan Kopunek, John Sorkin, Denise Orwig, Andrew Goldberg and Richard F. Macko

Background:

Self-report measures of physical activity have well-known drawbacks, and physiologic measures alone do not account for behavioral variables important in the perception and performance of physical activity. Therefore, we considered multiple measures to quantify physical activity in community-dwelling men and women with chronic stroke.

Methods:

This analysis included data from a volunteer sample of 87 individuals at least 6 months poststroke. Physical activity was measured using self-report questionnaires, step activity monitors, self-efficacy expectations related to exercise, and VO2peak from treadmill testing, and a model of physical activity was tested.

Results:

Most of the variance in objective physical activity was explained by VO2peak, and most of the variance in subjective physical activity was explained by self-efficacy expectations. There were significant discrepancies between subjective and objective findings.

Conclusion:

This study helps to understand the perspective of stroke survivors with regard to physical activity.

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Jack M. Guralnik, Suzanne Leveille, Stefano Volpato, Marcia S. Marx and Jiska Cohen-Mansfield

Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that, using objective performance measures of physical functioning, disability risk can be predicted in nondisabled older adults. This makes it possible to recruit a nondisabled but at-risk population for clinical trials of disability prevention. Successful disability prevention in this population, for example through an exercise program, would have a major public health impact. To enhance the development of exercise interventions in this group it would be valuable to have additional information not available from existing epidemiologic studies. This report examines the evidence that functional limitations preceding disability can be identified in a community-dwelling population and that it is feasible to recruit these people into studies. It introduces a series of articles examining the characteristics of this population: motivators and barriers to exercise, exercise habits and preferences, the impact of positive and negative affect, and the impact of pain and functional limitations on attitudes toward exercise.