Physical and Psychosocial Characteristics of Older Adults Who Participate in a Community-Based Exercise Program

Elizabeth Orsega-Smith, Laura L. Payne, Geoffry Godbey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose this study was to evaluate a community-based exercise program for adults 60 years and older. Specifically, the authors sought to examine selected physical and psychosocial indicators of health among low-, moderate-, and high-frequency participants. Data on selected physical-fitness variables from baseline and 6-month follow-up assessments were available for 196 members. In addition, 265 current members completed a mailed questionnaire regarding frequency of program participation, health, demographics, and psychosocial outcomes. Significant improvements in endurance and flexibility were documented for the group at large over 6 months, and the low-participation group showed a significant increase in flexibility. Self-efficacy was higher for those in both the low- and high-frequency groups than for those in the moderate-participation group. Exercise-based social support was reported to be higher among the low- and high-participation groups than among the moderate-participation group. Results suggest that community-based programs and community parks and recreation agencies are a viable context for senior exercise/physical activity programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-531
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Community parks and recreation agencies
  • Psychosocial health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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