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JFSF Vol 3, No 2, June 2018, p.105-113

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-03-105


Review Article

Enablers and barriers to older people’s participation in strength and balance activities: A review of reviews

Nick A. Cavill, Charlie E.M. Foster

  • University of Bristol School for Policy Studies, UK

Keywords: Exercise, Physical activity, Strength, Balance, Barriers, Enablers


Objectives: This review sought to investigate the question: what are the key barriers to, and enablers for, older adults undertaking muscle strengthening and balance activities, and how can these be addressed by individuals and practitioners? Methods: A search of PubMed for review-level evidence on professional and personal barriers and motivators for strength and balance activities among older people. Results: The search and expert consultation found 46 studies; after screening, twelve papers were included. Many of the barriers and motivators to strength and balance activities are familiar ones that can also apply to physical activity more generally, such as not having the time. More specific barriers to strength and balance activities for older people were perceived risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death, and fear of looking too muscular; with motivators being improved ability to complete daily activities, preventing deterioration and disability, and decreasing the risk or fear of falling. Conclusions: This review of reviews has found a small but consistent body of literature describing the motivators and barriers to older adults taking part in strength and balance activities. This may be used as the basis for planning and delivering physical activity programmes for older adults.