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Exercise for oldies seems to need social approval!

June 6, 2010
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Many older people resist participating in exercise sessions, or strength and balance training.  A study in 2007 examined the attitudes and beliefs that older people have towards participating in strength and balance training. Are they fearful of tripping during exercise, of the consequences of falling, and how do they view taking part in exercise programs?

Of 558 people interviewed (60-90 years old) what seemed to matter was that they felt that family, friends and doctors would approve! Strong encouragement all round (including from professionals) and also being seen as positively coping, predicted those older adults who would be more likely to participate in exercise programs. These same people believed that there were many benefits to be had from strength and balance training and that it also gave them a positive social identity!

So education about the benefits of strength and balance training, and strong social support (particularly from doctors, I imagine) predicts taking part in healthy exercise and acts to prevent falls, heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline etc. in our aging population…. and there is no end to what exercise can do!

Keeping going

Keeping going once you have started probably benefits from social factors too…a friend to go with, people to chat to, a friendly trainer or educator…..just like going to school.

Motivation increases if we can have an indication of individual goals to work towards: choice in type of exercise would also help. Perhaps discussion of one or two case studies of others who are similar and have achieved some change would add interest to the exercise ritual…. and there is no doubt that you feel the benefit of your effort!

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