Health Correlates of Exercise Behavior and Stage Change in a Community-Based Exercise Intervention for the Elderly: A Pilot Study

Claudio Nigg, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Catherine English, University of Rhode Island
Norma Owens, Geriatric Pharmacotherapy
Patricia Burbank, University of Rhode Island
Annie Connolly-Belanger, University of Rhode Island
Robert Dufresne, University of Rhode Island
Nancy Fey-Yensan, University of Rhode Island
Carol Ewing Garber, Northeastern University
Andrea Luisi, University of Rhode Island
Cynthia Padula, University of Rhode Island
Sandra Saunders, University of Rhode Island
Phillip Clark, Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center


The effects of a community-based physical activity intervention grounded in the Transtheoretical Model were investigated in a sample of older adults. The residents (n = 48, mean age = 78.24 ± 6.69, 90% female) of an independent living complex completed pre-and postintervention assessments, including physical, mental, and general health; nutrition; bodily pain; and stages of exercise behavior change. The intervention included posters with stage-based pamphlets (for inactive stages) and in-house exercise sessions (for active participants). The intervention resulted in high exercise maintenance and more progression than regression in exercise stage. More maintainers and progressers improved on the measured variables compared to relapsers. The stage model is a promising framework on which to base and evaluate interventions for this population. The overall impact of the intervention was positive, whether by providing the actual opportunity to exercise or by motivating other physical activity. These results also support the potential quality-of-life impact for this type of intervention in older adults. © 2002, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.