Gender perspective on older people’s exercise preferences and motivators in the context of falls prevention: a qualitative study

Marlene Sandlund, Petra Pohl, Christina Ahlgren, Dawn Skelton, Anita Melander-Wikman, Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, Lillemor Lundin-Olsson

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Background. Several factors have previously been identified to positively influence the uptake and adherence for fall prevention exercise programmes. There is, however, a lack of studies investigating if men and women differ in their views and preferences for fall prevention exercises. Aim. To explore exercise preferences and motivators of older community-dwelling women and men in the context of falls prevention from a gender perspective. Methods.Workshops including multistage focus group discussions were
conducted with 18 older community-dwelling people with and without history of falls. Participants were purposively selected and divided into two groups. Each group met on six occasions over a period of five months. Participatory and Appreciative Action and Reflection methodology was used to guide the discussions. A qualitative content analysis approach was used in the analysis.
Results. Older participants had many diverse preferences and confirmed that individually tailored exercise, in terms of mode, intensity, challenge, and social context, is important.Moreover, important factors for exercise adherence and maintenance included the experience of individual confirmation; different spirit lifters to increase enjoyment; and personal tricks to maintain exercise
routines.The individual differences within genders were more diverse than the differences between women and men. Conclusion. Exercise interventions to prevent falls should be individually tailored, based on the specific needs and preferences of the older participant, and do not appear to require gender specific approaches. To increase adherence, intrinsic motivation for exercise may
be encouraged by competence enhancing confirmations, energizing spirit lifters, and practical tips for exercise maintenance. The study provides an awareness about women’s and men’s preferences for fall prevention exercises, and this information could be used as guidance in designing inclusive exercise interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6865156
Number of pages11
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2018


  • gender
  • falls prevention
  • exercise
  • qualitative data analysis
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Patient Preference
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Accidental Falls/prevention & control
  • Exercise
  • Motivation
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Qualitative Research


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