Even after achieving significant physical activity improvement over 24 months, older Hispanic adults still held onto self-defeating perceptions about aging and illness, and struggled to maintain motivation to continue exercising, according to a fascinating study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology.

The study divided a cohort of older Hispanic adults into two groups. Each group participated in periodic group discussions and exercise classes. In addition, the treatment group received reattribution training, while the control group received health education.

Older Hispanic adult walking
Photo by Vlad Chețan on Pexels.com

Both groups showed significant improvement in physical activity at the conclusion of the two-year intervention, but the treatment group excelled.

“We observed a trend among participants in the treatment group that they performed better on almost all the physical battery tests and ended the program with higher physical function scores than their counterparts in the control group,” noted lead author, Brett Burrows, in an interview with the University of Illinois.

Why It Matters

Discovering the elements and methodologies of a successful reattribution training for older Hispanics could significantly reverse the prevailing cultural attitudes about the inevitability of illness and loss of physical function in older age. Surely, such a discovery would also hold valuable lessons that could apply across cultures. More research in this area is highly encouraged, as it would be highly valuable to practitioners throughout the allied health spectrum.