Trans-disciplinary approaches to Physical Activity Promotion in Older Adults

Monday 16th July 2012 (09:00-16:30)
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Workshop Leader: Dr Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani

The European Commission declared 2012 as the European Year of Active Ageing. Although it is evident that life expectancy is increasing greatly in the Western world at least, this trend is not complemented by an increase in the number of healthy years lived. Physical activity is a critical contributor to successful ageing, yet older adults are the least physically active segment of the population. Although many physical activity interventions have been developed with variable success, one of the major problems is that they fail to attract those groups of older adults who may derive the greatest benefits. Therefore, more effective targeted physical activity promotion strategies that can facilitate adoption and adherence are needed. Clearly the possibility of developing a trans-disciplinary platform for the promotion of physical activity in older adults is likely to have the greatest impact and needs to be explored.

The attendees included both researchers and practitioners all with expertise that could significantly further this area of work. An emphasis was placed not only on behaviour change strategies that have been shown to be effective in enhancing physical activity participation, but also on the environmental context and illness preventive services in the community. The workshop considered technological advances (e.g., the use of social media such as mobile phone applications and social networking channels) and the arts (literature and drama presentations) can be used effectively in recruitment and retention strategies for physical activity. Such approaches have received little/no attention in the literature, in particular as far as older adults are concerned.

The workshop was a first step towards establishing collaboration between researchers in Schools at UoB which do not have strong collaborative links. The link to outside agencies and organisations will allow for exploration of ways in which research-driven ideas may be feasibly implemented in the community and in more specialised settings (e.g., residential homes for older adults).

Internal attendees:

  • Prof Janet Lord, College of Medical & Dental Sciences
  • Dr Chris Bowers, Human and Computer Interaction Centre, College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
  • Dr Frank Eves, School of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Prof Joan Duda, School of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Dr Sheena Leek, Business School
  • Dr Sarah Williams, School of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Dr Lauren Andres, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Dr Paul Appleton, School of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Dr Nikos Ntoumanis, School of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Dr Phil Jones, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Prof Rob MacKenzie, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Dr Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, School of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Caroline Last, College of Life & Environmental Sciences

External attendees:

Dawn Lowe, Birmingham Health and Well-Being Partnership