Interventions to Promote Physical Activity by Older Adults

King AC
Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
January 1, 2001

Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2001;56(suppl 2):36-46

This article is part of a Special Issue supplement of Journals of Gerontology entitled “Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life in Older Adults.”

Abstract: Physical activity has been established to be an independent risk factor for a range of chronic diseases and conditions that threaten the health of the nation.  However, only a minority of the population is currently meeting the recommended levels of regular physical activity, which have been linked with important health and quality-of-life benefits. Older adults are at particular risk for leading sedentary lifestyles. This article provides an overview of factors associated with physical activity for older adults and also describes potentially promising interventions for promoting regular physical activity in this growing population segment. Examples of interventions undertaken at personal and interpersonal as well as broader levels (e.g., environmental) are provided. Major issues currently facing the field are discussed, including the ongoing challenge of developing assessment tolls that are sensitive to the more moderate-intensity physical activities favored by older adults and the formidable task of combining clinical approaches with environmental and policy strategies aimed at combating this public health problem.

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