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Enjoyment and acceptability of different exercise modalities to improve bone health in young adult women

Lambert C1,2, Beck BR1,2,3, Watson SL1,2, Harding AT1,2, Weeks BK1,2.

Health Promot J Austr. 2020 Jan 13. doi: 10.1002/hpja.321. [Epub ahead of print]

Osteoporosis presents a serious public health issue and physical activity is recognised as the most effective modifiable risk factor for the condition. The reasons behind physical activity participation, however, are complex. We therefore aimed to explore the experiences related to a bone-targeted exercise intervention, determine enjoyment and acceptability of each exercise mode, and identify barriers and facilitators to osteogenic exercise for young adult women.

The present study was conducted within the XXXXXX trial, a three-arm RCT comparing musculoskeletal outcomes from two supervised, high-intensity, exercise programs (impact and resistance training) with an unsupervised low-intensity exercise control. A mixed-methods approach was used, including quality of life and physical activity enjoyment questionnaires and qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews.

All groups had improvements in the ‘mental health’ domain of the quality of life measure; however, the two supervised exercise groups had greater levels of physical activity enjoyment. The qualitative analysis revealed that overall the trial activities were positively, yet the two supervised groups had ‘richer’ exercise experiences. Motivations for participation, barriers to physical activity, and desired continuation of participation differed between all three groups.

Findings suggest that bone-targeted exercise interventions for young adult women must address perceived time demands and environmental barriers to participation in order to maximise compliance and adherence. SO WHAT?: As physical activity is the most effective lifestyle strategy to improve bone health and young adulthood an important window for its augmentation, increasing convenience, accessibility and understanding of osteoporosis preventative behaviours in this demographic is vital.