Increasing health related physical activity in previously sedentary adults : a comparison of fitness testing and exercise consultation
The research has demonstrated that giving appropriate information to carefully targeted sedentary employees who work in a supportive environment can help increase physical activity levels. At the adoption phase there seems to be no advantage in carrying out a fitness assessment or an exercise consultation. Information giving is most cost effective and one that can be implemented in the many and varied opportunities which exist for health professionals. The general trend, as discerned from the plots of PA over time, showed that any initial positive change dropped markedly in the period between three months to six months post test. Furthermore, the stage of change by time interaction showed, rather surprisingly, that 'contemplators' required relatively less support than 'preparers' in the maintenance phase. No matter what type of intervention takes place, it was clear that on-going support was required to assist individuals maintain any initial positive change. Exercise consultation is a new approach to helping sedentary individuals increase physical activity levels. This type of intervention was found to be appealing from a subjective level and there was some evidence (from planned comparison) to suggest that it was more effective than fitness assessment in helping sustain the change in the move from adoption to maintenance. It is important that sedentary individuals who adopt more physically active lifestyles are given further support and a range of choices to maintain this behaviour change. Exercise consultation is particularly suited to help individuals in this dynamic process.