Background: Physical activity has health benefits across the lifespan, yet only 13 % of Canadian older adults are sufficiently active. Results from a number of observational studies indicate that adults display positive preferences for exercising with others of a similar age and same gender, and that intra-group age- and gender-similarity are associated with elevated exercise adherence. However, research has yet to experimentally examine the extent to which intra-group age- and gender-related similarity affect exercise adherence behaviors. Methods/design: The GrOup-based physical Activity for oLder adults (GOAL) trial is a three-arm randomized control trial that will examine the efficacy of two different group-based exercise programs for older adults (informed by the tenets of self-categorization theory) in relation to a standard group-based exercise program. Within this manuscript we outline the design and proposed evaluation of the GOAL trial. The first arm is comprised of exercise groups made up of participants of a similar-age and of the same gender; the second arm consists of groups with similar-aged mixed gender participants; the control arm is comprised of mixed-aged mixed gender participants. We aim to compare the adherence rates of participants across conditions, as well as potential moderation effects and mediating mechanisms. Discussion: Results from this trial will inform intervention designs to improve the exercise adherence behaviors of older adult. At a systems-level, should support be derived for the efficacy of the interventions tested in this trial, changing group composition (i.e., age, gender) represents a feasible program adaptation for physical activity centers. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov # NCT02023632. Registered December 13, 2013.
- Older adults
- Physical activity
- Self-categorization theory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health