While multiple research studies have shown how important it is to avoid long bouts of sitting and incorporate movement into your every day, older adults — like many others — often fail to achieve these goals. A new study from Dr. Paige Pope at the University of Lethbridge aims to develop strategies to get older adults moving more.
Pope, a health promotion researcher in the Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education, is now recruiting participants for her Move More, Sit Less study. Designed for adults 65 years or older, the study looks to provide participants with a greater awareness of their sitting patterns and help them establish realistic strategies to decrease or break up their sitting time.
“Sitting is something we all do. Many people spend the majority of their day sitting, without realizing the total amount of time they spend doing it,” says Pope.
Research has shown older adults (aged 65 and older) spend more time sitting than other age groups, averaging 9.4 to 9.9 hours sitting during their daily waking hours.
“This is concerning because greater sitting time is linked with numerous health concerns that are more prevalent among older adults. These include functional limitations, reduced mobility, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and all-cause mortality,” says Pope, citing a recent study by fellow ULethbridge kinesiologist Dr. Jennifer Copeland.
Move More, Sit Less will take place over a 13- or 21-week timeframe and help participants gain a stronger understanding of how to change their habits and incorporate more movement throughout their day. It also seeks to give researchers a deeper look into how older adults’ sitting time and sitting patterns are related to important aging factors such as fear of falling, quality of life and feelings of vitality.
Pope has already run one group through the study, which uses brief informative messages to reinforce movement goals and records participants’ activity through an activity tracking device. The feedback from the first group has been positive.
“As a senior, and having mobility issues, sometimes moving is hard to do. Because of this, when I look at the motivational messages in the envelopes, and the notes that I leave for myself, I can stimulate myself and others in the building where I live to move and have fun,” says one participant.
Another notes how tracking sitting and moving patterns makes you much more aware of how often you are inactive.
Pope is looking for participants who can stand independently or with an aid, read English fluently, and can commit to a 13- or 21-week timeframe. Eligible participants will receive informative messages with tips and strategies to get them up and moving more; wear an activity tracking device; and receive a detailed summary of their activity patterns at the end of the study. Participants are also eligible to receive $40 in $10 increments throughout the study.
For more information, contact the Psychology for Active Living and Sports Lab at PALS@uleth.ca, or by calling 403-332-4435.
This research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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Trevor Kenney, News & Information Manager