Motivational aspects that influence the elderly to enroll on and continue participating in physical exercise programs

Clara Maria Silvestre Monteiro de Freitas, Marcela de Souza Santiago, Ana Tereza Viana, Ana Carolina Leão, Carmen Freyre


Currently, there is a growing demand for physical exercise in programs promoting health; however, the elderly are still under-represented in such programs. This study aims to identify, classify and discuss social, cultural and educational factors relating to the health and quality of life of the elderly, establishing relationships with the motives for which they join and adhere to regular physical exercise programs in public areas. This was a field study employing descriptive quantitative and qualitative methodology and for which 120 participants from two physical exercise programs in Recife were interviewed. The results indicate that the most important motives for participation were as follows: to improve health (84.2%), to improve physical performance (70.8%), to adopt a healthy lifestyle (62.5%), to reduce stress (60.8%), to comply with doctor’s orders (56.7%), to recover from injury (55%), to improve self-image (50.8%) and to enhance self-esteem and relax (47.5%). The most important motives for continuing to attend such programs were: to improve posture (75%); to promote a feeling of wellbeing (74.2%); to keep fi t (70.8%); to experience pleasure (66.7%); to become stronger and be motivated by the instructor (62.5%); to experience a feeling of well-being produced by the social environment (60%); and to experience self-realization and receive attention from the instructor (57.5%). For the men (35.1%), the habit of performing physical exercise in their youth had no bearing on their joining such programs. On the basis of these indicators, universities can make a valuable contribution by offering socio-educational health-related projects encouraging the elderly population to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.


Idoso; Motivação; Qualidade de Vida; Promoção da saúde; Idoso; Motivação; Qualidade de Vida; Promoção da saúde


The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.