Posted on Nov 25, 2011, 11 a.m.
Self-determined motivation and perceived competence are important factors in persuading seniors to exercise more.
While a number of studies document that regular physical activity lowers the risk of a number of diseases, including depression, as we age, getting people to engage in routine exercise remains difficult. Magnus Lindwall, from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), and colleagues studied 17,593 older adults from 11 European countries older adults, average age 64 years, who are enrolled in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE). The subjects in the study were followed up over a period of two and a half years, among other things with regard to physical activity and depression. The team found that regular physical activity associated with a lower risk of suffering depression in old age. Importantly, the team found that self-determined motivation and perceived competence are important factors in persuading seniors to exercise more. The study authors conclude that: “Regular physical activity may be a valuable tool in the prevention of future depressive symptoms in older adults, and depressive symptoms may also prevent older adults from engaging in regular physical activity.”
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Lindwall M, Larsman P, Hagger MS. “The reciprocal relationship between physical activity and depression in older European adults: a prospective cross-lagged panel design using SHARE data.” Health Psychol. 2011 Jul;30(4):453-62.