Older Adults’ Perceptions of a Novel Outdoor Exercise Initiative

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  • Title: Older Adults’ Perceptions of a Novel Outdoor Exercise Initiative: A Qualitative Analysis
  • Author(s): Myrla Sales, Remco Polman, Keith D. Hill, Pazit Levinger
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The Journal of Aging and Social Change
  • Keywords: Enjoyment, Social Interaction, Exercise Participation, Outdoor Exercise
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2576-5310 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2576-5329 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2576-5310/CGP/v08i01/61-78
  • Citation: Sales, Myrla, Remco Polman, Keith D. Hill, and Pazit Levinger. 2018. "Older Adults’ Perceptions of a Novel Outdoor Exercise Initiative: A Qualitative Analysis." The Journal of Aging and Social Change 8 (1): 61-78. doi:10.18848/2576-5310/CGP/v08i01/61-78.
  • Extent: 18 pages

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the acceptability, barriers, enablers, perceived benefits, and outcomes in undertaking an exercise intervention using a novel outdoor exercise park designed for senior citizens. This study was a parallel randomised controlled trial with pre- and post-intervention design (outcome assessments at baseline and at eighteen weeks after participation commencement). Twenty-seven independent community-dwelling adults (75.1 ± 7.9 years; seventeen females; ten males) underwent an interview after completing the eighteen-week exercise intervention. A thematic analysis approach was used to evaluate the content of the interviews. Participants reported that the exercise intervention proposed was very enjoyable and had varied perceived benefits. The exercise intervention has been positively rated by the participants. The main outcomes perceived from their participation were physical (e.g., improvements in muscle strength, balance, flexibility, and gait), psychological (e.g., improved confidence and well-being and reduced depression symptoms) and psychosocial (e.g., improved social interaction). Participants also perceived an improvement on their ability to perform activities of daily living (e.g. climbing stairs, tying shoelaces, and catching public transport). The exercise-park program has been shown to be a well-accepted, novel option for older adults to exercise outdoors and therefore might enhance exercise uptake and attendance and sustain participation in exercise programs for older adults in the community.