Background and Aim: About 40% of older adults in The Netherlands are sedentary according to the ACSM’s criteria. It is suggested that the enhancement of physical activity by lifestyle physical activity is an adequate instrument for nonintrinsically motivated sedentary subjects. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a pedometer-based lifestyle program with exercise counseling (the COACH program) on daily physical activity in sedentary nonintrinsically motivated older adults in the northern region of The Netherlands.
Methods: A balanced randomized clinical trial (RCT) design was used. Inclusion criteria were being between 50 and 70 years of age and being sedentary and nonintrinsically motivated to enhance physical activity. In this study 473 healthy older adults were enrolled: 292 in the experimental group, 181 in the control group. The experimental group followed a physical activity counseling program with feedback from a pedometer during 11 weeks. One hundred fifty adults participated in an individual counseling program, and 142 subjects had a group counseling program. The outcome measures were daily physical activity (steps/day), physical fitness (Senior Fitness Test), and quality of life (RAND-36).
Results: A MANOVA analysis show a statistical significant group × time effect in physical activity (number of steps; F = 5.88, α = .02, β = 90), leg strength (F = 2.01, α = .04, β = 77), endurance (F = 3.53, α = .03, β = 81), systolic blood pressure (F = 1.96, α = .04, β = 76), physical functioning (F = 3.18, α = .03, β = 82), and vitality (F = 4.18, α = .02, β = 91). The increase in steps show a clinical relevant change (ES .98). No statistically significant effect on physical activity was found between individual and group counseling (F = 0.77, α = .38, β = 83).
Conclusion: This study shows that exercise counseling is an efficacious instrument to enhance daily physical activity, physical fitness (leg strength, endurance, and systolic blood pressure), and quality of life (physical functioning and vitality).