n International SportMed Journal - A review of enablers and barriers to physical activity participation among older people of New Zealand and international populations : review article

Volume 14, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



The objective of the present study was to review international evidence on common motivators and barriers to physical activity for older people.

Authors searched Pubmed, PsychINFO, EBSCOhost, Scopus, CINAHL, PsycARTICLES, Google Scholar, Ausportmed, and SPORTDiscus, plus additional hand searches. Relevant terms included: 1) physical activity, sport, exercise, sedentary, inactivity; 2) older people, older adults, aged, elderly; and 3) barriers, facilitators, enablers, motivators. The search was limited to English language publications from 2003 to 2010.
Article titles (n = 504) were reviewed for potential relevance by two authors, then full-text articles were retrieved for all potentially relevant articles. Twenty-seven English language articles, reports, or abstracts published from 2003 to 2010, addressing motivators or barriers to physical activity in people over the age of 65 years were included.
Two authors extracted data on motivators and barriers.
Based on frequency, the most common barriers and motivators to physical activity (PA) participation, categorised at the personal, social, and environmental levels were identified. Common PA motivators included positive outcome expectations, feeling healthy, social support, easy access to facilities or affordable community-based programmes, guidance or encouragement from health professionals, and institutional encouragement. Common PA barriers included health problems, lack of support, cultural/social norms, functional ability, and the fear of falling and injury.
For both New Zealand and international populations, common personal, social, and environmental barriers and motivators were identified that could be targeted through public health programmes, which should be culturally appropriate for each ethnic group.

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