For senior citizens, age, ethnicity, income and fear of crime can impact their confidence and conviction that they can exercise, according to new research conducted by scientists at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research.
"Socioeconomically disadvantaged older Americans receive the least amount of attention and information regarding the safety and benefits of exercise and could benefit the most from this type of information," said Daniel O. Clark, Ph.D., head of the study.
Clark, along with Faryle Nothwehr, M.P.H., Ph.D., studied the exercise attitudes, knowledge, experience and barriers encountered by 729 low-income urban older patients at an outpatient clinic in Indianapolis. Their study appears in the August issue of Health Education & Behavior.
Working with the clinic patients to identify environmental barriers to physical activity, the scientists asked whether concerns about crime, lack of sidewalks, poor weather and other factors kept the subjects from walking or exercising more. In addition, they asked about physiological barriers such as pain, swelling, fear of falling, fear of chest pain or shortness of breath.
The respondents had limited confidence in their performance abilities and the outcomes they could attain, the researchers found. Older-age individuals felt more limited in their ability to engage in physical exercise than younger persons, and females had lower confidence that they could engage in physical activity than males. African-American males, with incomes of more than $1,000 a month, had the greatest confidence in their ability to engage in physical activity among all the participants.
Individuals who received encouragement to exercise by family, friends and doctors had greater confidence in their ability to engage in physical activity.
Participants who expressed a fear of crime had greater confidence that they
would be able to engage in physical activity than individuals who did not. "It
Contact: Daniel O. Clark, Ph.D.
Center for the Advancement of Health