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Ageing Res Rev. 2011 Sep;10(4):464-74. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2011.04.001. Epub 2011 May 5.

Motivators and barriers for physical activity in the oldest old: a systematic review.

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Frailty in Ageing Research Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.


Worldwide, people engage insufficiently in physical activity, particularly subjects aged 80 years and over. For optimal life-style campaigns, knowledge of motivators and barriers for physical activity is mandatory. Given their specific needs, it is conceivable that these would be different for the oldest old compared to younger subjects. Pubmed, Web of Science and Psychinfo were systematically screened for articles reporting motivators and barriers for physical activity. Papers were excluded if data regarding elderly aged >79 years were absent. Forty-four relevant articles were included, involving a total of 28,583 subjects. Sixty one motivators and 59 barriers for physical activity in the elderly were identified, including those who are relevant for persons aged 80 years and over. Based on the results of our literature review, we recommend that when promoting physical activity in the oldest old, special attention is paid to the health benefits of physical activity, to the subject's fears, individual preferences and social support, and to constraints related to the physical environment. However, no studies were found exclusively describing people aged 80 years and over, and future research is necessary to differentiate the barriers or motivators that are specific for the oldest old from those of younger elderly.

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