Age matters in health messages
Health interventions to increase exercise in older people could be more successful if they differentiated between people aged 65 to 79 years old and those over 80 years old.
This is the finding of a study by Dr Mark Moss and colleagues from Northumbria University that will be presented today, Thursday 7 May 2015 at the Annual Conference of the British Psychology Society being held in Liverpool.
Some 144 participants aged 65 to 95 completed questionnaires about their current health and wellbeing, vitality, motivation to exercise and barriers to exercise.
Age was shown to have the biggest influence on both motivators and barriers to exercise. Individual factors such as health constraints, a negative mind-set, social constraints and age appropriateness were all contributing factors to the amount of exercise undertaken.
Dr Moss said: "There may have been a tendency to see all those aged over 65 as one homogenous group when it is clear there are significant differences. With our ageing population it's vital that new health messages aiming to promote exercise to older adults must tailor their information so it takes in to account the differences between 'young' older adults and 'older' older adults.
"Furthermore, it is essential that we recognise the importance of individual differences in motivators and barriers to exercise so that personalised programmes can be designed. One size does not fit all!"