Aging Clinical and Experimental Research
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute
Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant / Deakin University
NHMRC Number : GNT1174886
Background: ‘Exercise snacking’, which is characterised by shorter and more frequent exercise bouts compared with traditional exercise guidelines, may be an acceptable strategy for increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour in older adults. Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the enablers and barriers for older adults associated with participation in a home-based exercise snacking program delivered and monitored using an Amazon Echo Show 5 device (Alexa). Methods: This study used an interpretive description qualitative design to conduct semi-structured interviews following a 12-week pilot study in 15 adults aged 60–89 years with at least one chronic condition. All participants were prescribed a home based, individualised, lower limb focussed ‘exercise snacking’ program (involving ≤ 10 min of bodyweight exercises 2–4 times per day) delivered and monitored by an Alexa. Qualitative interview data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: All 15 participants (mean age 70.3 years) attended the semi-structured interview. Themes including time efficiency, flexibility, perceived health benefits, and motivation were enablers for participation in the ‘exercise snacking’ program. A lack of upper body exercises and omission of exercise equipment in the program, as well as a lack of time and motivation for performing exercise snacks three or more times per day, were barriers to participation. Conclusion: While ‘exercise snacking’ is acceptable for older adults, future trials should provide equipment (e.g. adjustable dumbbells, exercise bands), prescribe whole-body exercise programs, and establish strategies to support participation in more than three exercise snacks per day.
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