Sunday, December 23, 2007

Helping the Older Adult Exercise

Motivational Strategies for Training Older Adults

ACE Fitness - By Marion Webb

Trainers who are already working with America's growing aging population say it's especially rewarding to give the gift of healthful and independent living, not to mention the huge marketing opportunity it represents.

But as with training younger individuals, fostering intrinsic motivation, achieving self-efficacy to create behavioral change, and ultimately long-term adherence, are extremely difficult with this population.

Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass. and a leading fitness authority in training older adults, says while the club has achieved great success with its long-standing 10-week training program for older adults, exercise maintenance is an on-going challenge.

"There is a 92 percent retention rate in the 10-week program, but that number drops by half once seniors are asked to move to the main training center (where they get no special attention and train with the general YMCA membership)," Westcott says during a recent phone interview. The specialized program is so successful that many seniors pay nearly twice the amount to repeat a 10-week cycle, or drop out and rejoin later. It's not ideal, but Westcott says he'd rather have seniors come back than not train at all.

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Keywords – Older Adult,

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