A Qualitative Exploration of Perceptions of a Digital Intervention to Promote Physical Activity in Older Adults

Sebastien Pollet, James Denison-Day, Katherine Bradbury, Rosie Essery, Elisabeth Grey, Max Western, Fiona Mowbray, Kirsten Smith, Joanna Slodkowska-Barabasz, Nanette Mutrie, Paul Little, Lucy Yardley

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Purpose: This study explored participant views of a web-based physical activity intervention for older adults and examined how they resonate with the key principles that guided intervention development. Methods: Qualitative interviews were carried out with 52 older adults. A deductive qualitative analysis approach was taken, based around the intervention’s key principles. Results: Participants expressed mostly positive views of the intervention features, broadly confirming the appropriateness of the key principles, which were to: (a) encourage intrinsic motivation for physical activity, (b) minimize the risk of users receiving activity suggestions that are inappropriate or unsafe, (c) offer users choice regarding the activities they engage with and build confidence to undertake more activity, and (d) minimize the cognitive load and need to engage with the intervention website. The findings also identified ways in which content could be improved to further increase acceptability. Conclusion: This study illustrates how using the person-based approach has enabled the identification and implementation of features that older adults appreciate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-454
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research under its Programme Grants for Applied Research (reference RP-PG-0615-20014). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health and Social Care. The Active Lives intervention was developed using LifeGuide software, which was partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. The authors would like to thank Patient and Public Involvement representatives Rosemary Phillips, Bernard Gudgin, John Niven, and Tom Stokes, who provided feedback on the design of the intervention.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Acceptability
  • Behavior change
  • Digital physical activity intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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