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Increasing Physical Activity in Empty Nest and Retired Populations Online: A Randomized Feasibility Trial Protocol

by Amy Cox * and Ryan Rhodes
Behavioural Medicine Laboratory, Department of Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3544; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103544
Received: 5 April 2020 / Revised: 2 May 2020 / Accepted: 12 May 2020 / Published: 19 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Challenges and Opportunities for Promoting Active Healthy Ageing)
Despite the extensive evidence on the benefits of physical activity (PA) in older adults, including reduced risk of disease, mortality, falls, and cognitive and functional decline, most do not attain sufficient PA levels. Theoretical work suggests that behavioral change interventions are most effective during life transitions, and as such, a theory-based, online intervention tailored for recently retired and empty nest individuals could lend support for increasing levels of PA. The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of the intervention and study procedures for a future controlled trial. This study has a randomized controlled trial design with an embedded qualitative and quantitative process evaluation. Participants are randomized at 1:1 between the intervention and waitlist controls. Potential participants are within six months of their final child leaving the familial home or within six months of retiring (self-defined), currently not meeting the Canadian PA guidelines, have no serious contraindications to exercise, and are residing in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Participants are recruited by online and print flyers as well as in-person at community events. The study aims to recruit 40 empty nest and 40 retired participants; half of each group received the intervention during the study period. The internet-delivered intervention is delivered over a 10-week period, comprising 10 modules addressing behavior change techniques associated with PA. Primary outcomes relate to recruitment, attrition, data collection, intervention delivery, and acceptability. Secondary behavioral outcomes are measured at baseline and post-treatment (10 weeks). Intervention-selected participants are invited to an optional qualitative exit interview. The results of this feasibility study will inform the planning of a randomized effectiveness trial, that will examine the behavior change, health-related fitness, and well-being outcomes by exploring how reflexive processes of habit and identity may bridge adoption and maintenance in behavioral adherence. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; retirement; empty nest; life course transitions; habit; identity; behavioral change physical activity; retirement; empty nest; life course transitions; habit; identity; behavioral change
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Cox, A.; Rhodes, R. Increasing Physical Activity in Empty Nest and Retired Populations Online: A Randomized Feasibility Trial Protocol. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 3544.

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