Lithuanian Sports University, Lithuania
Relevance of the research. The evidence of health benefits is the strongest in older adults because the outcomes related to inactivity (obesity, chronic diseases, depression, and smaller muscle strength) are more common in elderly population. However, with increasing age the number of perceived constraints and barriers on physical activity (PA) increases as well. Reasons that restrict the elderly from active lifestyle may be classified into internal (personal) and external (environmental) whereas the most common personal barriers for exercise are chronic health problems, obesity, pain, tiredness, lack of knowledge and skills, and psychological aspects like fear of falling, mood disorders.
The aim of this study was to indicate the most important perceived constrains that restrict the elderly from daily physical exercise.
Research methods and organization. The study was conducted in 2012 August – November in Kaunas city. During the testing of physical fitness 160 volunteers completed additional questionnaire about perceived constraints on exercise (62 men and 98 women). The information about PA, health aspects, body weight and height and perceived constraints on exercise was collected using the interview method for each participant. The average age of the respondents was 70.6 ± 7.5 years. PA was assessed using a short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Four days a week and more of moderate and/or vigorous PA for at least 30 minutes was considered as adequate.
Results and discussion. PA in 51.9 % of the responders was inadequate. 58.2 % of women and 41.9 % of men were insufficiently physically active (χ2 = 4.0, p < 0.05). Physical inactivity was found in 65.1 % of the responders aged ≥70 years and in 37.7 % of the study participants aged <70 (χ2 = 12.0, p < 0.01). 41.9 % of men and 46.9 % of women were overweight, 17.7 % of men and 22.4 % of women were obese (χ2 = 1.7, p > 0.05). Perceived constraints such as not used to exercise (63.9 %), no skills for exercising (56.6 %), don’t like exercising alone (55.4 %), feelings of discomfort during exercise (32.5 %) and insecure when exercising outdoors (30.1 %) were strongly associated with insufficient PA in the elderly (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions. Perceived constrains that most restrict elderly people from exercise were lack of time and interest (OR = 7.2, p < 0.0001) and fear of falling and injuries (OR = 3.3, p < 0.05) outlining the importance of these aspects as part of PA promotion in the elderly. Definitely, in the future population-based researches in large elderly samples are needed.