Special Issue "Health Benefits of Physical Activity in Older Adults"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Exercise and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jose Losa-Reyna
Guest Editor
1 GENUD Toledo Research Group, University of Castilla-La Mancha, 45071 Toledo, Spain;
2 CIBER of Frailty and Healthy Aging (CIBERFES), 28029 Madrid, Spain;
3 Geriatric Department, Hospital Virgen del Valle, 45071 Toledo, Spain
Interests: healthy aging; concurrent training; frailty; functional performance; muscle power
Dr. Maria Giné-Garriga
Assistant Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Psychology, Education and Sport Sciences Blanquerna, Ramon Llull University, Císter 34, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
2. Faculty of Health Sciences Blanquerna, Ramon Llull University, Padilla 326, 08025 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: older adults; health-related interventions; movement behavior; physical activity; sedentary behavior; physical function, participatory health research, co-creation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Most Western countries are experiencing a worrying ageing of their population that will be further enhanced in the coming years. The most important changes related to quality of life, functional independence, and mortality occurring at a physiological level during the ageing process are a decline in cardiorespitatory capacity and the loss of muscle function, causing diminished muscle power and mass. The level of functional independence of older subjects depends mainly on maintaining an adequate aerobic capacity and muscle power above a certain threshold. Notably, older people tend to avoid physical activity when their aerobic capacity is poor, and are not capable of certain basic activities—such as standing up from a chair—when their muscle power is very low. As their involvement in physical activity decreases, their loss of muscle function acelerates, which further reduces aerobic capacity, leading to a vicious cycle. In addition, it is well known that physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, depression, cancer, and even mortality. Unfortunately, the prevalence of physical inactivity is, in many countries, higher than that of all other modifiable risk factors. However, regarding physical activity, uncertainty persists with regard to the optimal dose (frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise) and the minimum effective dose to induce health benefits—in particular, the effects of intensity on health status. In sum, the promotion of regular physical activity is among the main non-pharmaceutical actions that should be advocated in older subjects, especially regarding a preventive approach for “a successful ageing”. The submission of papers addressing these topics for this Special Issue is welcomed, especially those combining a high academic standard with a practical focus on providing the optimal physical activity promotion policies and cost-benefit approaches for physical activity prescription in public health.

Dr. Jose Losa-Reyna
Dr. Maria Giné-Garriga
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • physical activity
  • physical fitness
  • older adults
  • exercise
  • healthy aging
  • exercise adherence
  • health promotion

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
How Do Decision Makers and Service Providers Experience Participatory Approaches to Developing and Implementing Physical Activity Interventions with Older Adults? A Thematic Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042172 - 23 Feb 2021
Background: Physical activity has numerous health and well-being benefits for older adults, but many older adults are inactive. Interventions designed to increase physical activity in older adults have typically only produced small effects and have not achieved long-term changes. There is increasing interest [...] Read more.
Background: Physical activity has numerous health and well-being benefits for older adults, but many older adults are inactive. Interventions designed to increase physical activity in older adults have typically only produced small effects and have not achieved long-term changes. There is increasing interest in participatory approaches to promoting physical activity, such as co-production, co-design and place-based approaches, but they have typically involved researchers as participants. This study aimed to understand the experiences of decision-makers and service developers with the introduction of such participatory approaches when developing new physical activity programmes outside of a research setting. Methods: Semi-structured, qualitative interviews were conducted with 20 individuals who were involved in commissioning or developing the Greater Manchester Active Ageing Programme. This programme involved funding eight local authorities within Greater Manchester, England, to produce physical activity projects for older adults, involving participatory approaches. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted, structured using the Framework approach. Results: Interviewees identified important benefits of the participatory approaches. The increased involvement of older adults led to older adults contributing valuable ideas, becoming involved in and taking ownership of projects. Interviewees identified the need to move away from traditional emphases on increasing physical activity to improve health, towards focussing on social and fun elements. The accessibility of the session location and information was considered important. Challenges were also identified. In particular, it was recognised that the new approaches require significant time investment to do well, as trusting relationships with older adults and partner organisations need to be developed. Ensuring the sustainability of projects in the context of short-term funding cycles was a concern. Conclusions: Incorporating participatory approaches was perceived to yield important benefits. Interviewees highlighted that to ensure success, sufficient time needs to be provided to develop good working relationships with older adults and partner organisations. They also emphasised that sufficient funding to ensure adequate staffing and the sustainability of projects is required to allow benefits to be gained. Importantly, the implementation of these approaches appears feasible across a range of local authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Physical Activity in Older Adults)
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