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New paper: Study of Older Adults’ Motivator and Barriers Engaging in Exercise

The MIlkMAN study was a six-week pilot intervention to assess the feasibility and acceptability of combining milk consumption with resistance exercise training to improve muscle health and physical performance in older people. In a new paper, led by Lorelle Dismore (Health Psychologist & AGE visiting researcher), we discuss the findings of semi-structured interviews with 29 MIlkMAN participants, to investigate the motivators to take part in a community-based intervention, and the barriers to continuing engagement after study completion.

The motivators included gains in knowledge about nutrition and exercise resulting from taking part:

“It made me realise what the problems are in old age; muscle waste, something you never think of… the health benefits of milk and exercise; important in muscles for later life; strength and links to falls and accidents.” (MIlkMAN 99, age 67).

And many participants reported positive changes in health, such as reductions in pain and fatigue:

“I can now walk up and down stairs without holding a bannister. I have more confidence going out walking and using stairs.” (MIlkMAN 40, age 77)

But the participants also emphasised the importance of being part of social networks, including receiving support from the research team and engaging with the other participants. A key finding was that maintaining these social bonds supported their continued engagement after the intervention.

“I developed a friendship that will last and continue, I had fun with my training partner…as a team you matched me very well– I thought you matched people by personality.” (MIlkMAN 66, age 72).

Barriers to continuing engagement after the study ended included the cost of a gym membership, dislike of a gym environment, and environmental factors, such as exercising indoors in the summer.

These findings will inform our future studies, highlighting the need for peer support and the importance of social bonding between participants taking part in community-based interventions.

Dismore L, Hurst C, Sayer AA, Stevenson E, Asprey T, Granic A. Study of the Older Adults’ Motivators and Barriers Engaging in a Nutrition and Resistance Exercise Intervention for Sarcopenia: An Embedded Qualitative Project in the MIlkMAN Pilot Study. Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, 2020; 5: 1 –9. DOI: 10.177/2333721420920398

You can read the full article here.

Last modified: Wed, 20 May 2020 15:38:53 BST