Association for Researchers in Psychology and Health (ARPH)
Annual conference of the Association for Researchers in Psychology and Health (ARPH) edition:4 location:Ghent date:5-6 Februari 2015
Background: Walking has been proposed as a promising strategy for improving the level of physical activity (PA), walking fitness and mental health. In a previous study (Pelssers et al., 2013), a structured walking program (‘Every Step Counts’) embedded within a sociocultural organization proved to be effective in a population of healthy elderly. Based on these results, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of a similar walking intervention in a population of Flemish adults with mental disorders. This intervention (‘Join the walk?’) was embedded within clubs of the Flemish Federation for Sport and Recreation in Mental Health Care (Psylos).
Methods: Eleven clubs were included in the intervention condition and eight in the control condition. The baseline number of participants per club varied from four to sixteen, with 91 participants in the intervention condition and 49 in the control condition. The intervention consisted of four key components, namely (1) an individualized, pedometer-based 10-week walking program, (2) a weekly group walk, (3) a walking coach and (4) health-related workshops.
Participants in both conditions were measured at baseline and after ten weeks. Mental health (depression and anxiety) and the level of PA were determined with a questionnaire, while walking fitness was measured with a six minute walk test.
Findings and discussion: The results are expected by the end of 2014.