Short and long-term adherence to swimming and walking programs in older women--the Sedentary Women Exercise Adherence Trial (SWEAT 2)

Prev Med. 2008 Jun;46(6):511-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.01.010. Epub 2008 Jan 26.


Objective: To examine in previously sedentary older women the effects of exercise mode and a behavioural intervention on short and long-term retention and adherence.

Methods: Healthy, sedentary women aged 50-70 years (N=116) were randomly assigned to a supervised 6-month swimming or walking program 3 sessions a week. They were further randomised to usual care or a behavioural intervention. The same program was further continued unsupervised for 6 months. We assessed retention, adherence, stage of exercise behaviour and changes in fitness.

Results: One hundred women (86%) completed 6 months and 86 (74%) continued for 12 months. Retention rates were similar for both exercise modes at 6 and 12 months. Adherence to swimming or walking was similar after 6 months (76.3 (95% CI: 69.5, 83.1)% vs. 74.3 (67.7, 80.9)%) and 12 months (65.8 (57.9, 73.8)% vs. 62.2 (54.6, 70.0)%). The behavioural intervention did not enhance retention or adherence. Fitness improved for both exercise modes after 6 months and was maintained at 12 months.

Conclusions: Either swimming or walking programs initiated with careful supervision over 6 months resulted in similar high retention and adherence rates by highly motivated older women over 12 months. Behavioural intervention in this setting did not improve these rates further.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Swimming / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Walking / physiology*