The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
LS was the main investigator, analyzed the data and involved in drafting the manuscript. SS contributed to the study design, performed the statistical analysis, and supervised the study. EJ involved in drafting, and revising it critically for important intellectual content. MS helped in writing process. AM was the study consultant, contributed to the analysis, responded to reviewers’ comments, and provided the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the paper.
Physical activity may have several benefits for elderly people. However, the risk of falling might prevent this population from showing interest in physical activity. This research was aimed to explore facilitators and barriers to physical activity in older persons who have experienced at least one fall in the past 12 months.
This cross sectional study was conducted in 2010-2011, in Tehran, Iran. Using a multistage sampling method a group of elderly people entered into the study. A multi-section questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic information, physical activity level, and different determinants that might influence physical activity. Several statistical tests including linear regression were used to analyze the data.
In all, 180 old people from 40 elderly centers (49 men and 131 women) took part in the study. The mean age of participants was 65.9 ± 6.1 years. The result indicated that most participants experienced two or more falls during the last year (54.5%). Those who had more falls significantly scored lower on the Physical Activity Scale for Elderly (p < 0.0001). ‘Keeping in touch with friends’ was the most important advantage cited by participants for performing physical activity. The results obtained from linear regression analysis showed that ‘perceived benefits’ was the only significant factor that associated with physical activity (β = 1.03, p < 0.001).
The findings suggest that perceived benefits could facilitate physical activity among elderly regardless of number of falls, self-reported health and daily living activities. However, we observed inverse association between number of falls and physical activity. Indeed the findings suggest that we should reinforce benefits exist when designing programs to increase physical activity among elderly population.
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