This study explores a weekly community-based exercise program (CBEP) for ageing adults in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. This program aims to improve the health and well-being of ageing adults and was evaluated using an exploratory qualitative study design. Four focus group discussions and two individual interviews were conducted before a thematic analysis using Braun & Clark’s (2006) six-step approach. A total of 23 participants were involved in the study over a 6-week period. The thematic analysis resulted in two main themes: (a) meeting community needs and (b) benefits to health and well-being. Five minor themes stemmed from these two themes, in which participants identified that a service gap existed within the community and the program was adaptive in its design to meet community needs. Participants reported benefits to health and well-being, specifically perceived improved mobility and independence, social connections and ‘recharging the batteries to feel good’. The inclusion of Tai Chi exercises was noted for increased vitality and pain management benefits. The role of the exercise instructor was deemed to be instrumental to the success of the CBEP. The CBEP provides motivation for older adults to attend, increasing physical activity. Future CBEPs for ageing adults should provide a social component and relevant health education for participants. Exercises should be safely adapted by the exercise instructor to suit people of various abilities and to promote a more ‘inclusive’ environment.© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
About The Expert
Joanne E Porter