Review of how we should define (and measure) adherence in studies examining older adults’ participation in exercise classes

Helen Hawley-Hague, Maria Horne, Dawn Skelton, Chris Todd

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Exercise classes provide a range of benefits to older adults, reducing risk of illness, promoting functional ability and improving well-being. However, to be effective and achieve long-term outcomes, exercise needs to be maintained. Adherence is poor and reporting of adherence differs considerably between studies.
Objective: To explore how adherence to exercise classes for older people is defined in the literature and devise a definition for pooling data on adherence in future studies.
Design: Methodological review of the approaches used to measure adherence.
Methods: A review of the literature was carried out using narrative synthesis, based on systematic searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsychINFO. 2 investigators identified eligible studies and extracted data independently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e011560
JournalBMJ Open
Early online date23 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016



  • older adults
  • exercise adherence
  • participation
  • exercise classes
  • motivation

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