Aerobic exercise equipment preferences among older adults: a preliminary investigation

J Appl Meas. 2003;4(1):43-58.


The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument that would measure the aerobic exercise equipment preferences of a frail older population and to see, despite a small sample size, if a many-facet Rasch analysis would provide useful information concerning the construct validity of the instrument and the equipment preferences of the sample. Sixteen ambulatory seniors (M = 82.0 yr +/- 6.6; 4 males and 12 females), who resided in a local retirement community and were involved in a structured fitness program, evaluated the following exercise equipment: Schwinn Air-Dyne, Nu-Step Recumbent Stepper; Monark bicycle ergometer; Stairmaster; and PTS Turbo Recumbent Bicycle. Participants used the equipment for 5 min. and then completed the survey via a structured interview technique. Test-retest reliability coefficients indicated the participants' responses were stable across days for each piece of exercise equipment (proportions of agreement >.83; km >.77). A many-facet (equipment, items, participants) Rasch analysis verified that 12 closed format items defined a linear construct of equipment preference (separation = 1.8; reliability =.77). The pieces of equipment were placed on the linear continuum according to their equipment preference measures (separation = 3.21; reliability =.91) derived from the participants' response patterns to the items (separation = 1.43; reliability =.67). Although the MNSQ infit and outfit statistics were acceptable for each facet, the items did not target the equipment very well. Suggested changes to the instrument include converting questions to statements to use with Likert response categories; converting negative wording to positive phrasing, and adding items related to seat comfort, foot pedal placement, and visibility of display panel. The Nu-Step and Schwinn were the most preferred pieces of equipment while the Stairmaster was the least preferred. This preliminary investigation illustrates how useful information can be obtained from a many-facet Rasch analysis to guide instrument revision and better understand exercise equipment preferences among a frail older population.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Equipment Design
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*