UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Older adults’ experiences of group-based physical activity : A qualitative study from the ‘GOAL’ randomized controlled trial Bennett, Erica V.; Hurd Clarke, Laura, 1969-; Wolfe, S. A.; Dunlop, W. L.; Harden, S. M.; Liu, Y.; Estabrooks, P. A.; Rhodes, R. E.; Beauchamp, Mark R. (Mark Robert), 1972-


Objectives: In this qualitative study, we examined older adults’ experiences of taking part in two 2 efficacious group-based physical activity programs as part of the GrOup-based physical Activity for 3 oLder adults (GOAL) randomized controlled trial. 4 Method: In the GOAL Trial, 627 older adults were randomized to one of three conditions: similar 5 age same gender (SASG), similar age mixed gender (SAMG), or ‘standard’ mixed age mixed 6 gender (MAMG) control exercise group conditions. Participants in this qualitative study (N = 31; 7 Nmen = 17, Nwomen = 14; Mage = 70 years) were purposively sampled from the two experimental 8 conditions (SASG, SAMG) and involved in semi-structured interviews. The data were analyzed 9 using thematic analysis. 10 Results: The results included 12 lower-order and three higher-order themes that reflected (a) the 11 benefits and challenges of exercising with peers, (b) the group as a means of mitigating social 12 isolation, and (c) group exercise and the physically active body. 13 Discussion: Findings highlight the importance of social connections that exist within the age-14 matched physical activity programs, as well as some of the challenges for older adults participating 15 in community-based physical activity programs. Implications for intervention, program planning, 16 and future research are discussed.

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