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Title: Comparing long-term effects of three physical activity programs among older adults
Authors: Van Hoecke, Ann-Sophie ×
Delecluse, Christophe
Bogaerts, An
Boen, Filip #
Issue Date: 16-Dec-2011
Conference: Symposium Vlaamse Kinesiologie edition:16 location:Gent date:16 December 2011
Abstract: Introduction. The benefits of physical activity among older adults are well-known. However, there is no consensus on the most appropriate counseling format to assist older adults in pursuing and maintaining a physically active lifestyle. This study evaluated the relative impact of an individualized need-supportive physical activity program, based on the principles of the self-determination theory2 (SDT), compared with less intensive programs.

Methods. Participants were 442 Flemish sedentary adults over the age of 60, randomized to one out of three physical activity interventions: 1) an exercise promotion condition, consisting of a single advice session in which the coach clarified existing local opportunities; 2) a walking condition, consisting of a single advice session in which the coach additionally explained a prestructured individually-tailored walking program; and 3) an individualized need-supportive condition, consisting of additional regular contacts in which the coach fostered the SDT-related psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness in order to increase autonomously motivated physical activity. Autonomous motivation as well as self-reported and objective physical activity were measured before (pre), after (post) and one year after the beginning (follow-up) of the ten-week intervention by means of the Behavioural Regulation Exercise Questionnaire4, the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire3 and pedometers respectively. Perceived need-support was assessed at post-test by a modified version of the Teacher As Social Context Questionnaire1.

Results. Linear mixed model analyses demonstrated an increase in self-reported physical activity post-intervention and in the long term in all three interventions. However, the walking and need-supportive program yield larger increases in Godin Leisure-Time Exercise compared with the exercise promotion.
Results on objective physical activity showed an increase in total number of daily steps from pre- to post-test in all three interventions conditions. However, the walking condition increased significantly more compared with the exercise promotion condition. Long-term analyses (i.e. from pre- to follow-up-test) did not demonstrate significant time by condition interaction effects with respect to daily number of steps. Nevertheless, the walking and need-supportive condition increased their daily number of steps, whereas no changes were found in the exercise promotion condition.
Bootstrapping analyses revealed that, irrespective of condition, higher levels of perceived need-support at post-test resulted in higher levels of physical activity at post- and follow-up-test. These effects were mediated by autonomous motivation at post- and follow-up-test respectively.

Conclusions. The findings demonstrate post-intervention as well as long-term effectiveness of three additional physical activity programs among sedentary older adults. Moreover, providing or setting up a specific and individually-tailored physical activity plan seems to be more effective than referring older adults to wide-spread existing physical activity opportunities. Finally, the different patterns in self-reported and objective physical activity after the intervention highlight the need to further examine measurement issues on physical activity.

References.
1. Belmont, M., E. Skinner, J. Wellborn, and J. Connell. Teacher as social context: A measure of student perceptions of teacher provision of involvement, structure and autonomy support (Tech. Rep. No. 102). University of Rochester, 1988.
2. Deci, E. L., and R. M. Ryan. Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. Plenum, New York, 1985.
3. Godin, G., and R. J. Shephard. A simple method to assess exercise behavior in the community. Can J Appl Sport Sci 10: 141–146, 1985.
4. Markland, D., and V. J. Tobin. A modification to the behavioural regulation in exercise questionnaire to include an assessment of amotivation. J Sport Exerc Psych 26: 191–196, 2004.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: AMa
Appears in Collections:Policy in Sports & Physical Activity Research Group
Research Centre for Exercise & Sport Psychology, and Coaching (-)
Exercise Physiology Research Group
Research Group for Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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