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Team effort helps for motivation

Older adults are more likely to stick to an exercise program if they work out in a group, study findings suggest.

According to the report, older people who exercised in a group for at least 4 months were more likely to schedule exercise into their weekly routine and attend classes if the group was more cohesive.

These individuals may be less inclined to quit when others in the group are committed. Groups provide other benefits such as opportunities to learn, talk and form friendships, which provide emotional rewards, the report indicates.

"Research in group dynamics has shown that the behavior of individual members is influenced by other group members, and the more cohesive the group, the greater the influence," write Paul A. Estabrooks, with Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and Albert V. Carron from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario in Canada.

Results of their study, which was published earlier this year in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, are based on interviews with 82 people whose average age was about 67 years.

The authors note that only 30% of adults in North America exercise regularly, and the percentage tends to decline with age. About 50% of those who begin an exercise program quit after 6 months.

As the percentage of older adults in the population rises, using exercise...for increasing independence and functional ability appears to represent a low-cost, noninvasive alternative to institutionalization or chronic care," Estabrooks and Carron conclude.

Reference Source 89
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