Perceived Benefits and Barriers to Exercise among Physically Active and Non-Active Elderly People

Atiya A Shaikh, Sukanya P Dandekar


Purpose: Adhering to a physically active lifestyle and exercising regularly is a challenge for many elderly people. Identifying the factors that influence such adherence may help in policy-making and in promoting a physically active lifestyle. This study aimed to compare perceived benefits and barriers to exercise among physically active and non-active elderly persons.

Method: Around 140 elderly persons with normal cognition and no depression, living in the community, were divided into two groups - the physically active and the non-active - using Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity Scale. Their perception about benefits, barriers and motivators for exercise were studied using Exercise Benefits and Barriers Scale. The scores of both groups were analysed.

Results: A significant difference was found in scores of perceived benefits and scores of motivators in both groups (p <0.0003 and <0.0001 respectively), but no difference was found in perceived barriers(p=0.0607). Strongest benefit perceived by the physically active elderly was “Exercise helps me to sleep better”, and the strongest motivator was “I enjoy exercise”.

Conclusion: The study shows that although both the physically active and non-active elderly perceive equal barriers for exercise, the benefit perceptions and motivators seem to play a significant role in adhering to a physically active lifestyle and exercising regularly. Spreading awareness about such benefits and the reduction of barriers may help in promoting regular physical activity among the elderly.


Physically active/non active elderly; benefits; barriers; motivators; exercises

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