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J Community Health Nurs. 2003 Winter;20(4):197-208.

Sedentary older women's limited experience with exercise.

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Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri, Columbia, 65211, USA.


The aim of this study was to examine sedentary older women's experiences with exercise. Interview-administered questionnaires and physical measures assessed exercise history variables, health-related quality of life, functional status, depression, perceived vigor, adiposity, and body mass index. Women aged 65 to 97 years (N = 198) participated in the study. Most women reported at least 1 experience with episodic exercise but only 27% had experience with 2 forms of exercise and just 7% had experience with 3 exercise types. Many women began regular continuous exercise during their 5th, 6th, or 7th decades, but stopped exercising after a few years. Correlations between past exercise and potential health outcomes were very modest. These sedentary elderly women had very limited repertoires of experience with episodic exercise. Interventions designed to help women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s maintain the exercise programs may prove particularly valuable.

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