Improving exercise adherence in older people

What do physiotherapists think of their support to improve exercise adherence?

Exercise is a key part of the concept of global health, and insufficient physical activity has been identified as one of the factors leading to sedentarity and potentially pathology or diseases.

Exercise and physical activity are all the more significant for older people who face physiological changes and altered physical function, which may increase the risk of hospitalisation and morbidity when associated with physical inactivity.

When talking about exercise, a frequent issue for physiotherapists is the question of adherence – which is often reported as irregular. Several studies investigated ways to increase exercise adherence such computer feedback and exergaming, but also behavioural change. The latter is part of the physiotherapists' role when prescribing exercises to patients.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to get an in-depth understanding of physiotherapists' experience and perception of the support they provide to incite older patients to continue exercising. This may help implementing behavioural change techniques more effectively and therefore lead to an increased adherence. The main point highlighted by this study was overall insufficient education opportunities to learn how to motivate and to support older patients and help them continue exercising.


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