gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Barriers and supporting factors of regular exercise

Meeting Abstract

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Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa085

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Veröffentlicht: 18. Dezember 2006

© 2006 Kanning.
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The demographic progression in the developed nations requires a discussion about the growing number of aging people. Obviously these nations would like to limit the increasing costs that will be caused by age-related diseases and biological decline. Therefore they must be interested in the psychological needs of older people and the different means to give them a chance for aging in a successful manner.

As published by Blazer (2006), successful aging is difficult to examine because we do not know already what does it really mean. A common version is that a person who is aging successfully comes up to a high level of subjective well-being or health related quality of live. Netz, Wu, Becker and Tenenbaum (2005) analysed the effect of exercise on several dimensions of subjective well-being in a meta-analysis. Rejeski and Mihalko (2001) examined the association between physical exercise and quality of live, too. According to both analysis exercise could have a positive effect on successful aging. In their well-known book “successful aging” Rowe and Kahn (1998) propose there are at least three components of successful aging:

avoiding disease
engagement with life, and
maintening high cognitive and physical function.

The dose-response effect seems to be at best for a moderate intensive training of the aerobic abilities, lasting for at least 30min per day on the most days in the week. But older people often are not physically active in the recommended way. For example the findings of the Bundesgesundheitssurvey show that approximately only 10% of the 50 - 60 year old German exercise regulary (Mensink, 1999).

Our study asks for the barrieres of older people which impede them to be physically active. Additionally we are interested in those factors which might support them to exercise regulary. In oder to set these barriers and supporting factors into a theoretical framework, we have developed a model which includes sociological and psychological factors.

The purpose of our study is to test this heuristic model. In February 2006, we sended a questionnaire to 1200 randomly selected people aged 50 to 60 years. The sample ist divided into two parts: half of the people live in an urban area (Stuttgart) the other half is located in Rottweil, a rural environment of Germany.

Our model will be tested by structural equation modeling. We present first results of our study.