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Health Educ Behav. 2016 Jun;43(3):305-12. doi: 10.1177/1090198115599985. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Beyond Strength: Participant Perspectives on the Benefits of an Older Adult Exercise Program.

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University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA.


This study examines the expected and experienced benefits among participants in Enhance¬ģFitness (EF), an evidence-based group physical activity program for older adults. We also describe the implications for program dissemination (reach, implementation, and maintenance) within the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) framework. Twenty semistructured interviews were conducted with EF participants enrolled from 2005 to 2012. Interviews were digitally recorded, professionally transcribed, and analyzed using a deductive approach. Participants were motivated to join EF for expected physical benefits and the social environment of a group-based class. Actualized benefits of participation included physical, social, functional, and improved self-image/sense of well-being. Participants valued the practical application of class exercises to daily activities that support independent living, such as lifting objects and completing household chores. Organizations looking to implement EF or improve existing EF classes can improve program reach, implementation, and maintenance by incorporating participants' expressed motivations and valued benefits in program marketing and by improving organizational support to meet participant needs. EF class instructors can tailor their classes to engage participants based on their motivations. Understanding participants' motivations and valued benefits can improve EF dissemination by meeting participant needs with tailored class offerings and organizational needs informed by participant insights that aid program sustainability.


RE-AIM; older adult; physical activity

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