Researchers with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tested a 12-week physical activity program that combined aerobics, resistance exercise and motivational activities in a group of 340 low-income, mostly African-American seniors.
At the end of the program, participants reported significantly greater confidence in their ability to exercise (self-efficacy) and greater expectations about the outcomes of exercise, compared with adults who did not participate.
In focus groups, seniors most often cited physical activity as the benefit they associated with exercise.
Individualized instruction was also a major influence on seniors' willingness to participate in exercise.
Social and emotional benefits of exercise are important to older adults.
Laziness and unpleasant sensations were two barriers to participation in exercise.