Encouraging older people to engage in resistance training: a multi-stakeholder perspective
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Resistance training is an important aspect of healthy ageing, yet participation rates are especially low among older people. Strategies are needed to ensure resistance training programmes are attractive to and appropriate for this target group. To inform the development of such strategies, individual interviews (N = 42) and focus groups (four groups, N = 37) were conducted with 79 Western Australians representing four stakeholder groups: instructors who deliver resistance training programmes to older people, health practitioners, policy makers and seniors. Results indicate that the need for personalised attention in the establishment and maintenance phases of a resistance training programme can constitute both a positive and negative aspect of older people's experiences. The negative aspects were identified as a series of tensions between the need for personalised attention and (a) the desire to participate in physical activity within social groups, (b) a preference for activity variation, (c) a dislike for large centres where personalised guidance is often available yet the surroundings can be considered unappealing, (d) cost issues and (e) the need for flexibility in attendance. Recommended strategies for overcoming these tensions include disseminating information about the benefits of resistance training in later life to increase motivation to participate, identifying additional methods of integrating resistance training into group exercise formats, making gyms more attractive to older people and providing non-gym alternatives for resistance training.
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