Abstract P428: Get Active Orlando: Walking, Bicycling, Gardening
Introduction Research has consistently demonstrated positive benefits from physical activity (PA) in the primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases and conditions such as CVD. Even the person going from doing nothing to doing something will see the benefits. The specific aim of this study was to implement and evaluate the short-term effects of walking, bicycling, and community gardening approaches to enhancing PA among urban-dwelling older adults and low-income ethnic minorities.
Methods Participants included 157 adults of all races/ethnicities who self-selected into one of three interventions: walking (n = 47), bicycling (n = 35), or gardening (n = 75). Interventions were 10 weeks long, with follow-up data collection every 3 months until 1 year. Data collection included self-report questionnaires (Self-efficacy for Exercise Habits Survey, Lubben Social Network Scale, Perceived Environments Attributes scale, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, self-reported frequency, duration, and distance of PA performed), measured PA (7-day accelerometry), and PA focus groups.
Results Throughout the course of the intervention and the 9-month follow-up period, only three significant differences in self-reported questionnaire data arose. These differences occurred among bicyclists, with a significant increase (p < 0.01) in social networks from pre- to post-intervention, which remained stable across time, to the 9-month data collection. The bicyclists also reported a significant improvement (p < 0.001) in the perceived environmental attributes. Bicyclists also reported an increase in duration, frequency, and distance of bicycling. Themes emerging from the focus groups included: meeting new people, a spirit of community, accountability, increasing exercise, and developing community awareness.
Conclusions The purpose of this study was to increase the overall PA of the participants, not specific exercise routines. However, there were no significant differences from pre- to post-intervention (3 month interval) or to the 9-month follow-up except for the increase in social networks and perceived environmental attributes reported by the bicyclists. They also reported an increase in duration, frequency and distance ridden. In this study, gardening was the most successful intervention, with a greater percentage of individuals who wanted to participate, completed data collection, and continued beyond that time. Walkers demonstrated a lack of sustainability past the intervention period among individual participants. Although there were few statistically significant findings regarding PA and its influences, the results should be considered in their entirety. Participant verbal comments and feedback throughout the study, in addition to during focus groups, reflected the positive impacts that these interventions had upon the participants’ lives.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.