If you want to encourage fitness among residents, consider building walking paths on your property or encouraging walking in another way, suggests a new study from Norway.
Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology studied the exercise logs of adults aged 70 to 77 who participated in the Generation 100 study and found that walking — especially outside, regardless of the season — is older adults’ favorite way to exercise.
“The results could be important to help facilitate increasing activity levels in the elderly,” said Line Skarsem Reitlo, a doctoral student. “Information about what older adults prefer enables us to tailor exercise programs to appeal to seniors.”
The investigators also learned that the older men tend to train with greater intensity, and a higher proportion of their workouts included jogging, cycling and cross-country skiing. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to choose dance and walking as activities. And woman more often exercised with others compared with men.
“This suggests that we should offer different types of activities so that they meet the needs of as many elders as possible,” Reitlo said.
A second study found that older adults with memory loss and less education had a greater likelihood of quitting training programs, as did those who exercise for fewer than 30 minutes a day.
“Individuals who were physically active for fewer than 30 minutes a day were almost twice as likely to drop out from the study within three years as those who were more physically active,” Reitlo said. “Low grip strength and poor fitness are other characteristics that make elders more likely to discontinue a training program.”
Results of the studies are published in BMC Geriatrics.