STRUCTURED FITNESS EXERCISE INTERVENTION IN ACTIVE AGEING IS A BIG SUCCESS
During 2015-16 EuropeActive has been leading on an EU-funded project called Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Ageing (PAHA) in 8 partner countries, and with the support of Technogym mywellness® accelerometers and mywellness® cloud platform. The aim of the PAHA was to demonstrate if a 6-week intervention of structured exercise, exercise counselling and behavioural change support, is effective in increasing physical activity levels in previously self-perceived inactive individuals (55-65 year old). Measurements were taken at the start, the number of completions of the 6-week trial recorded, and then at subsequent 3 and 6 monthly intervals.
The 6-week programmes included a high level of pre-booked fully-supervised training sessions with fitness staff who had previously completed additional training in active ageing and behavioural change. The content and intensity of the scheduled training programmes were gently increased over the 6-week period. From the 669 people who took part in the trials a significant majority of 89% completed the full six weeks.
Within this number was a sub-group of 208 participants (121 females and 87 males), who were tracked using mywellness® keys and had their exercise data stored in the web based platform mywellness® Technogym. One of the main aims of the project was to get 20% of the participants still exercising to the benefit of their health 3 months after they completed their 6-week trial sessions. The results coming from the tracked activity group are especially remarkable with an adherence rate of 78%, compared to 62% of the rest of participants.
Professor Alfonso Jimenez from Coventry University who led the research into the findings of the PAHA project commented that “In comparison to ageing self-starter exercisers, or those who do not have this type of early structured programming, the adherence to regular exercising falls to an average as low as 50%. Previous research has shown that ageing people completing a structured or semi-structured intervention (lasting from 4 weeks to 24 weeks) achieved completion rates of 65% upwards. The outcome of our intervention sub-group using accelerometers was especially positive at 92%. At the same time, the high adoption and maintenance rate after 3 months is a very promising result for large scale public health interventions which address physical inactivity within this age group”.
After three months the participants on average have moved for 35 minutes at moderate intensity and almost 7 min at high intensity physical activity (a total of 42 minutes) per day. These values far exceed the World Health Organisation/EU recommendations for being considered moderately active (150 minutes/week which corresponds to about 21 minutes/day). Participants of the PAHA project sub-group who downloaded data into the mywellness® cloud platform were almost twice as active as the minimum recommendations.
Programme Director for EuropeActive Cliff Collins said “Whilst PAHA was never structured as a “pure” research project, we have found some very significant data that corroborates the importance of mentoring, guiding and motivating people to exercise in a planned way, and when they feel the positive results themselves it gives them the best reason to continue. We are about finding evidence-based interventions that will genuinely make a difference to people becoming more active and the PAHA project has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of what really works.”
Based on the PAHA experience EuropeActive is publishing a good practice guide that will be available in December as part of the European Summit on Digital Innovation and Active Ageing and it will be available as a download in English, French and German from the EuropeActive website. For more information on the Summit click here.
The PAHA project website can be found here