2011 Volume 9 Pages 39-48
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a group-based walking program on physical activity and mediators of activity in middle-aged and older adults. Fifty-six community residents (mean age = 60.3 years) participated in either a walking program (WP: n = 39) or health information program (IP: n = 17) for 2 months. The WP included: 1) instruction in walking technique; 2) participating in group walks; and 3) practicing behavioral skills. The IP consisted of: 1) information about the importance of diet and physical activity; 2) participating in easy exercise; and 3) practicing behavioral skills. After the programs, participants were provided a daily self monitoring and goal setting sheet to be completed over a 4-month period. Letters were sent to participants four times during the follow-up period. Physical activity and mediators of activity were assessed at baseline, 2 months, and 6 months. For the WP participants, daily step count and moderate and vigorous physical activity significantly increased during the 6-month period. There was a significant group-by-time interaction for physical activity, but no interaction for mediators of activity. These results suggest that the group-based walking program played an important role in increasing daily physical activity.