Background: Physical inactivity contributes to disability and falls in older adults. Falls prevention exercise (FaME) programmes improve physical activity and physical function and reduce falling rates. Improvements in physical function are reduced, and falls rates increase, if physical activity is not maintained. This research investigated the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention that aimed to maintain physical activity in older adults exiting FaME.
Methods: The Keeping Adults Physically Active (KAPA) intervention comprised of six group sessions of motivational interviewing, delivered monthly by trained and mentor-supported postural stability instructor's after the FaME programme ceased. The KAPA intervention included participant manuals, illustrated exercise books, physical activity diaries and pedometers. A feasibility study was conducted in 8 FaME classes. The study design was a two-arm, cluster randomised, multi-site feasibility study comparing the KAPA intervention with usual care. A sample of 50 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years old or older were recruited. Recruitment, retention and attendance rates, self-reported physical activity and participant interviews were used to examine the feasibility and acceptability of the KAPA intervention.
Results: Fifty of the sixty-seven (74.6%) participants invited into the study agreed to take part, 94.2% of the available KAPA sessions were attended and 92.3% of the recruited participants provided outcome data. The KAPA participants expressed positive views about the venues and postural stability instructors and reported enjoying the group interactions. Intervention participants discussed increasing their physical activity in response to the peer-support, illustrated home exercise booklet, physical activity diaries and pedometers. Most discussed the written tasks to be the least enjoyable element of the KAPA intervention. The proportion of participants reporting at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week rose from 56.3 to 62.5% in the intervention arm and from 41.4 to 52.0% in the usual care arm.
Conclusions: The participants found the KAPA intervention acceptable. Participants reported the exercise booklet, peer support and the physical activity monitoring tools encouraged them to keep active. A full-scale trial is needed to assess whether physical activity can be significantly maintained in response to the KAPA intervention.
Trial registration: Retrospectively registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03824015).