Group-Based Physical Activity Interventions Targeting Enjoyment in Older Adults: A Systematic Review

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In previous research, older adults reported they preferred enjoyable exercise programmes. The aim of this systematic review is to identify the components of enjoyable group-based physical activity interventions for older adults. Eleven electronic databases were searched in May 2021. Inclusion criteria were: Community-dwelling, ≥60 years of age, group-based physical activity, controlled intervention studies, designed to promote enjoyment, and included a measure of enjoyment or physical activity. Characteristics of the studies, intervention content, and enjoyment outcomes were extracted. Six studies, involving 1205 participants (Mean = 72.9 years old, 71.3% female, 67% European countries) were included. While enjoyment outcomes (n = 3) appeared to improve, there was wide heterogeneity in measurement tools, making it difficult to compare studies. Enjoyable group-based physical activity for older adults may consist of a supportive instructor and peers, creating a shared positive experience. Components included confidence building through competence, and courage experienced in the company of others. Within a physically supportive environment, older adults have the potential to generate social support to enjoy being physically active together. Future studies should include measures of enjoyment and device-based physical activity. Furthermore, a standardised definition of enjoyable physical activity for older adults is needed to inform the design of future interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-129
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ageing and Longevity
Issue number2
Early online date28 May 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 May 2022


  • physical activity
  • enjoyment
  • older adults


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