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J Nutr Health Aging. 1997;1(2):93-7.

Exercise adherence for a strength training program in older adults.

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Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, GA 30033, USA.


The first purpose of the present investigation was to examine initiation of a moderate intensity strength training and flexibility program in older adults. The second purpose was to assess adherence to training six months after conclusion of the initiation period. Forty-six apparently healthy older adults (mean age = 71.3; 33 women; 13 men) trained one hour, three days a week, for 4 months on a Nautilus Multi-Station Unit. The subjects trained on five upper extremity, three trunk, and three lower extremity stations. Training sessions consisted of 50 minutes of strength training and 10 minutes of flexibility exercises. Baseline exercise habits were obtained from the subjects using the Physical Exercise Profile (PEP). Subjects also completed portions of the PEP immediately following the conclusion of the 4-month intervention and 6 months later. The data were analyzed by chi square contingency tables. The subjects had over a 95% initiation rate during the study. Exercise leadership and program organization were found to be the most important reasons for the high initiation rate. Two determinants that influenced older adults to continue training were identified: satisfaction with the exercise routine and body image. These results indicate that exercise programs designed for older adults should emphasize exercise leadership to facilitate program initiation and subsequent exercise adherence.

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