Keywords: OLDER ADULTS, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, PERCEPTIONS, HEALTH-RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE
As proved by evidence, physical activity in adults >65 years old significantly improves health-related quality of life, mental and cognitive health, functional ability, all-cause mortality rates.
We aimed to estimate the perceptions about physical activity and the quality of exercise in a random group of older adults in a rural region.
Our research was designed as a snapshot study performed in Primary Care setting for a period of 20 days. In the time frame of our study a group of 200 adults (100 females/100 males), were randomly selected among the older adults visiting Primary Care Units in Thessaly, Greece. Short structured interviews, designed to reveal participants’ perceptions about physical activity at their age (needs, abilities, impact on health status) and the type and duration of regular exercise per week were performed.
Most of the adults of our study were 65-75 years old (101/200). The majority of participants affirmed performing of some or regular physical activity (112/200), mostly females 65-75 years old. Analyzing the participants’ perceptions, we found significant fear of injuries, insecurity about physical abilities to perform a program of exercise at their age, random everyday activities perceived as sufficient exercise, doubt about possible health benefits for aging-impaired people. Analyzing the quality of physical activity (type, duration, regularity) based on WHO Recommendations 2020, we found that the adults of our sample were following mostly moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (regular or some walking, gardening, cycling).
The findings of our snapshot study reveal that systematic education interventions about the benefits of all recommended types physical activity are strongly needed to motivate and empower the older adults in our rural region to take actions about their health.
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