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Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, Marcia S. Marx and Jack M. Guralnik

This study aimed to ascertain perceived barriers and motivators to exercise in people age 74–85 and to clarify the meaning of these barriers and motivators by examining participant characteristics that relate to them. 324 community-dwelling participants age 74–85 completed a health questionnaire that included items on barriers and motivators to exercise, as well as questions on demographic variables, health, and exercise. Selected participants then completed a physical-performance battery to measure functional performance. Barriers and motivators were related internally, as well as to many other factors including pain and depressed affect on the Geriatric Depression Scale. The findings suggest a need for individualized and comprehensive approaches to the presentation of exercise programs. Health interventions are needed that will address both physical pain and depressed affect and explain the importance of exercise even in the presence of health problems. An understanding of the context of reported barriers and motivators is necessary for correct interpretation and program development.

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Ana Carina Naldino Cassou, Rogerio Fermino, Ciro Romélio Rodriguez Añez, Mariana Silva Santos, Marlos R. Domingues and Rodrigo S. Reis

Background:

The aim of this study was to identify barriers to physical activity among elderly Brazilian women of different socioeconomic status (SES).

Methods:

A focus-group approach was employed. Subjects were aged, on average, 69.9 years (±6.9; n = 25). SES was measured based on a structured interview and women were grouped according to SES classification. Content analysis was used to categorize mentions of barriers to physical activities followed by descriptive analysis of absolute and relative frequencies of similar reports.

Results:

Most common barriers among high-SES elderly women were those within “psychological, cognitive, and emotional” dimensions (33.8%) and “environmental” (29.2%). Among women from lower SES, barriers were inversely ranked, the highest prevalence was verified for environmental (33.8%) and “psychological, cognitive, and emotional” dimensions (25%).

Conclusions:

The results highlight that barriers perception varies according to women’s SES, indicating that physical activity promotion strategies must address such differences.

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Jill Dawson, Melvyn Hillsdon, Irene Boller and Charlie Foster

The authors investigated whether low levels of walking among older adults in the UK were associated with demographic and health characteristics, as well as perceived environmental attributes. Survey data were obtained from self-administered standard questionnaires given to 680 people age 50+ (mean age 64.4 yr) attending nationally led walking schemes. Items concerned with demographic characteristics and perceived barriers to neighborhood walking were analyzed using multiple logistic regression. Citing more than 1 environmental barrier to walking, versus not, was associated with significantly reduced levels of (leisure) walking (MET/hr) in the preceding week (Z = –2.35, p = .019), but physical activity levels overall did not differ significantly (Z = –0.71, p = .48). Citing a health-related barrier to walking significantly adversely affected overall physical activity levels (Z = –2.72, p = .006). The authors concluded that, among older people who favor walking, health problems might more seriously affect overall physical activity levels than perceived environmental barriers.

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Laura Desveaux, Roger Goldstein, Sunita Mathur and Dina Brooks

Nonadherence to exercise is a main cause of reduced function for older adults with chronic disease following completion of rehabilitation. This quantitative study used a questionnaire to evaluate the barriers and facilitators to community-based exercise following rehabilitation, from the perspectives of older adults with chronic diseases and their healthcare professionals (HCPs). Questionnaires were administered one-on-one to 83 older adults and 35 HCPs. Those with chronic disease perceived cost (43%), travel time (43%), and physical symptoms (39%) as primary barriers to program participation, with similar perceptions across all chronic conditions. Access to a case manager (82%), a supported transition following rehabilitation (78%), and a condition-specific program (78%) were the primary facilitators. Significant between group differences were found between HCPs and older adults with chronic disease across all barriers (p < .001), with a greater number of HCPs perceiving barriers to exercise participation. There were no between-group differences in the perception of factors that facilitate participation in exercise.

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Andrea R. Taliaferro and Lindsay Hammond

Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) tend to have low rates of participation in voluntary or prescribed physical activity. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to identify the barriers, facilitators, and needs influencing physical activity participation of adults with ID within the framework of a social ecological model. A qualitative approach consisted of data collected from surveys and guided focus groups. Participants included adults with ID (n = 6) and their primary caregiver (n = 6). Barriers were categorized under three themes: organizational barriers, individual constraints, and external influences. Examples of subthemes included information dissemination, reliance on others, and caregiver considerations. Facilitators included primary caregivers as champions and camaraderie. Needs centered on family program involvement, improved programmatic structure, and programmatic support. Results indicate the need for community programs to examine barriers and facilitators applicable to their unique setting and population across all levels of a social ecological model.

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Yen-Jong Chen, Rodney H. Matsuoka and Kun-Cheng Tsai

Mobility barriers can impede physical activity, increase the fear of falling, and pose a threat to the ability of older adults to live independently. This study investigated outdoor mobility barriers within a nonretirement public housing community located in Tainan, Taiwan. Site observations and interviews with older adult residents determined that parked motor scooters, potted plants, the rubber tiles of play areas, and a set of steps were the most important barriers. In addition, the space syntax parameters of control value and mean depth were effectively able to quantitatively measure improvements in walkability resulting from the hypothesized removal of these four barriers. These measures of improved walkability can be included in a cost-benefit analysis of spatial improvement factors to help policymakers address the mobility and accessibility needs of older adults.

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Minna Rasinaho, Mirja Hirvensalo, Raija Leinonen, Taru Lintunen and Taina Rantanen

The purpose of this study was to investigate what older adults with severe, moderate, or no mobility limitation consider motives for and barriers to engaging in physical exercise. Community-dwelling adults (N = 645) age 75–81 years completed a questionnaire about their motives for and barriers to physical exercise and answered interview questions on mobility limitation. Those with severely limited mobility more often reported poor health, fear and negative experiences, lack of company, and an unsuitable environment as barriers to exercise than did those with no mobility limitation. They also accentuated disease management as a motive for exercise, whereas those with no or moderate mobility limitation emphasized health promotion and positive experiences related to exercise. Information about differences in motives for and barriers to exercise among people with and without mobility limitation helps tailor support systems that support engagement in physical activity among older adults.

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Faith D. Lees, Phillip G. Clark, Claudio R. Nigg and Phillip Newman

Longer life expectancy, rapid population growth, and low exercise-participation rates of adults 65 and older justify the need for better understanding of older adults’ exercise behavior. The objectives of this focus-group study were to determine barriers to the exercise behavior of older adults. Six focus groups, three with exercisers and three with nonexercisers, were conducted at various sites throughout Rhode Island. The majority (n = 57) of the 66 individuals who participated were women, and all stated that they were 65 and older. Results from the focus-group data identified 13 barriers to exercise behavior. The most significant barriers mentioned by nonexercisers were fear of falling, inertia, and negative affect. Exercisers identified inertia, time constraints, and physical ailments as being the most significant barriers to exercise. Implications from these focus-group data can be useful in the development of exercise interventions for older adults, which could increase exercise participation.

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Asmita Patel, Grant M. Schofield, Gregory S. Kolt and Justin W.L. Keogh

This study examined whether perceived barriers, benefits, and motives for physical activity differed based on allocation to 2 different types of primary-care activity-prescription programs (pedometer-based vs. time-based Green Prescription). Eighty participants from the Healthy Steps study completed a questionnaire that assessed their perceived barriers, benefits, and motives for physical activity. Factor analysis was carried out to identify common themes of barriers, benefits, and motives for physical activity. Factor scores were then used to explore between-groups differences for perceived barriers, benefits, and motives based on group allocation and demographic variables. No significant differences were found in factor scores based on allocation. Demographic variables relating to the existence of chronic health conditions, weight status, and older age were found to significantly influence perceived barriers, benefits, and motives for physical activity. Findings suggest that the addition of a pedometer to the standard Green Prescription does not appear to increase perceived motives or benefits or decrease perceived barriers for physical activity in low-active older adults.

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Bhibha M. Das and Steven J. Petruzzello

Background:

The physical inactivity epidemic continues be one of the greatest public health challenges in contemporary society in the United States. The transportation industry is at greater risk of physical inactivity, compared with individuals in other sectors of the workforce. The aim of this study was to use the Nominal Group Technique, a focus group technique, to examine mass transit employees’ perceptions of the barriers to physical activity at their worksite.

Methods:

Three focus groups (n = 31) were conducted to examine mass transit employees’ perceptions of barriers to physical activity at the worksite.

Results:

Salient barriers included (1) changing work schedules, (2) poor weather conditions, and (3) lack of scheduled and timely breaks.

Conclusions:

Findings were consistent with previous research demonstrating shift work, poor weather, and lack of breaks can negatively impact mass transit employees’ ability to be physically active. Although physical activity barriers for this population have been consistent for the last 20 years, public health practice and policy have not changed to address these barriers. Future studies should include conducing focus groups stratified by job classification (eg, operators, maintenance, and clerical) along with implementing and evaluating worksite-based physical activity interventions and policy changes.