Helping your clients to discover what physical activities they like best may be an important key to helping them stay active. Older adults who enjoy exercise the most are the most active, according to a study published in the American Journal of Health Behaviors (2008; 32 [6]; 570–82).

Researchers sought to determine the motives that differentiate people who are inactive, those who are active and those who are truly consistent exercisers. They recruited 645 adults with a median age of 63 years to complete stages of change and exercise motivation inventory forms.

Six factors emerged as most important in motivating activity: health and fitness; social and emotional benefits; weight management; stress management; enjoyment; and appearance. Among [older adults] who were the most consistently active,
the single most differentiating factor was enjoyment. Motivation may vary with age; this study focused on older adults.