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Table 3 Illustrative extracted quotes

From: Use it or lose it: a qualitative study of the maintenance of physical activity in older adults

ThemesSub themesIllustrative data extracts
PhysicalPhysical benefitsI think once you stop exercising you stiffen up and that then takes a lot of coming back if you don’t keep yourself supple and mobile and well you become a cabbage’(ID26 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘I know that it was doing me good because muscles were aching … and I thought this is doing me good, and if you think it is doing you good, you will continue, won’t you?’ (ID2 Female 80-84 years OTAGO)
‘I was more flexible, I do have a bad back which I have had for erm along… decades‘(ID4 Female 70-74 years FAME)
‘Well you know things like getting… you know getting up out of a chair and things like that’ (ID11 Male 70-74 years FAME)
Deterioration in physical health‘I can’t run anymore, the body is willing but the flesh is weak, the legs won’t go’ (ID12 Female 80-84 years FAME)
‘I think one thing that has, I have thought about for the elderly and the reason why elderly people don’t do exercise is so many of them start going on medication for one thing and another and statins and erm a lot of medication does affect you and makes you feel lethargic and tired and so I think one of the main reasons with the elderly in stopping doing exercises it is tablets' (ID8 Female 75-79 years FAME)
‘I mean I have got arthritis all over the place, in my spine and in my neck and that sort of erm stops me doing anything too energetic’ (ID13 Female 70-74 years FAME)
‘I am having a little problem with my knees so I don’t walk as much as I used to’ (ID 23 Female 80–84 years OTAGO)
Health beliefs‘It is very difficult, you know people over 55, they’ve started to think they are getting old, and what do I want to do exercise for? Which I can’t… that is not in my mind but I can see this in people that I talk to you know of my age you know, what the hell do I want to do exercise for?’ (ID5 Male 80-84 years FAME)
You wonder if it is through doing them that you have got these pains you know’ (ID28 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘Once you stop ….. it becomes more difficult to start up again’ (ID4 Female 70-74 years FAME)
‘Oh well I am well in my 70’s so you know I have a right to sit down and do nothing. I have got a friend like that and everything I do she says oh I bet you were tired weren’t you?’ (ID8 Female 75-79 years FAME)
Witnessing deterioration in others‘I think seeing how my husband went down so quick, that motivated me more because you can see how quick you do go down’ (ID30 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
SocialSocial Interaction‘as you get older if you are on your own you need company so there is no company is there sat here? You know what I mean?’ (ID28 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘Yes the social side of it yes because we did… You know when you’re retired and not going to work, it is trying to find something else and still meeting people’ (ID1 Male 70-74 years FAME)
‘It was actually one of the people that went to the Pro-Active……they started going to Tai Chi and it was him that told me about this Tai Chi classes so we enrolled in that, we both enrolled on that so it was you know it was somebody we had met at those classes that talked us in to going or told us about this Tai Chi so we thought we would give it a go and erm like I say because we were all beginners’ (ID11 Male 70-74 years FAME)
Motivating factors‘You know because I had only recently retired as well so it was thinking of some exercises that I could do or something I could do you know to get me out of the house rather than sitting reading and watching television all the while’ (ID11 Male 70-74 years FAME)
I wasn’t sure that I would have the commitment to do it at home, you know, life gets in the way’ (ID4 Female 70-74 years FaME)
I would have rather have gone to the classes because I think it encourages you more, when you are at home you have got no stimulation’ (ID30 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
Positive feedback from others‘Yes because we’re both more or less go to the same type of things and one pushes the other one on shall we say’ (ID27 Male 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘Yes because we work together, if we’re doing anything it is usually done together’ (ID26 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘And I was showing him some of the exercises and it is when hearing him say that would do you good, now that would be good for you...’ (ID2 Female 80-84 years OTAGO)
HabitWe don’t mind doing these Pro-Age 65 exercises, as I say we do them every morning without fail, we always find time for that, then we start to get ready to go out or do a days work whatever’ (ID26 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
you have got to regiment yourself to do these things haven’t you?’ (ID29 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘you get in a routine really and we have such a jolly time that… and I think we all felt that we benefitted hugely, that no it was good’ (ID7 Female 70-74 years FAME)
‘I just carried on doing them because they were asking you how many times you had done them, if one a regular basis with your legs and the weights and all that sort of thing so I just did it and never thinking that this would be coming along now so I did them because they were part of the exercise’ (ID20 Female 75–79 OTAGO)
Carer role‘Well because you have got to be regimented yourself to do these things haven’t you? You have got to make sure you do them, my husband was alive then so I had a lot to do looking after him you see so it was a bit difficult at times yes’ (ID29 Female 70-74 years OTAGO)
PsychologicalMeasurable activity‘I would have liked to have carried on doing it because filling those papers in as well every month gave you the incentive to do it’. (ID30 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
you have got to give them a goal and you have got to let them see that they have achieved something’ (ID24 Male 75-79 years FAME)
‘When there was no record at all required then I just didn’t bother doing it’ (ID1 Female 70-74 years OTAGO)
Self-efficacy‘I am used to having… doing things, physically, and on top of that exercising regularly in as an individual…………….. so I am quite capable of stringing together a programme that would suit me’ (ID21 Male 70-74 years OTAGO)
‘I was at the home, doing the home, I would have rather have gone to the classes because I think it encourages you more, when you are at home you have got no stimulation more or less when you’re at home but when you are in a class you try and do the same as everybody else don’t you?'
'And it is the company as well when you’re on your own, you have not got the company to encourage you, you know I tended to start and do the exercises but after about half an hour, I got a little bit fed up with it so I left it off and then perhaps went back to it the next day. Whereas if you’re in a class you do it in one go don’t you?’ (ID30 Female 75–79 OTAGO)
‘I suspect that I wouldn’t have done the home exercises as consciously as going to the classes, I need somebody there to motivate me and to push me really and the advice’ (ID7 Female 70-74 years FAME)
'I think it would have been harder to start with you know, to start with. I am usually pretty motivated anyway, if I take anything on I usually like to continue with it you know but I think the class, it is you know to encourage one another don’t you with a group' (ID19 Female 70-74 years FAME)
Lack of time‘My main difficulty is that life gets in the way because we have quite a busy life’ (ID4 Female 70-74 years FAME)
‘I am a busy person, I do try and fit in as much as I can and as I say I paint and it annoys me when I haven’t got enough time to do my painting so you know I like to put some time aside to paint’ (ID8 Female 75-79 years FAME)
‘I just think I am not that sort of person, I have got enough to do without being you know… taking exercise up. In a while I will have, I have got all of my planting to do, all my pots and things so I don’t think anything would encourage me to go to the gym or anything’ (ID28 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘would have looked to join a class with people, there is a class that is not too far from where I live and I have looked at that once or twice and thought about going but circumstances are that I just haven’t got the time.’ (ID1 Female 70-74 years OTAGO)
Mental health‘I can’t go any further and my legs just seize up and I feel mentally tired as well as physically tired’ (ID30 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘I think you can quite easily get depressed when you’re really tired so you have to sort of shake your feathers and say oh come on get on with it’ (ID6 Female 70-74 years FAME)
EnvironmentalConvenience‘You don’t always want to be going down town’ (ID2 Female 80-84 years OTAGO)
Follow on activity‘It needs a follow up really if you are wanting to help people getting older because that… it is like taking a step forward and then you just slip back, human nature’(ID18 Male 75-79 years FAME)
Technology‘Well if you have not used technology in your working life in your life, you’re going to find it very difficult to use technology, nowadays aren’t you?’ (ID29 Female 70-74 years OTAGO)
Financial‘it does make you go because you have paid for it in advance’ (ID11 Male 70-74 years FAME)
‘I mean when you have got a pension you do struggle to pay for such as gyms and things like that so if I could find something that was reasonable then I would probably do more’ (ID30 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
‘yes you need transport, which I have got……… I have got a free bus pass and the buses are only there across the road’ (ID28 Female 75-79 years OTAGO)
Accessible Transport‘yes and physically I wasn’t driving then so I couldn’t get to where they were’ (ID10 Female 85-89 years FAME)
Weather‘Yes I think the weather does, I think you know if it was pouring down with rain or something like that, I would probably be reluctant to go out and walk far in it.’ (ID11 Male 70-74 years FAME)
‘Erm… the weather, you know like I was saying if it is not a very nice night you obviously don’t go or if it is cold or snow’ (ID1 Female 70-74 years OTAGO)
Safety‘Well you read the media of people being attacked, today there is someone being attacked and phone taken off her, that sort of thing’ (ID29 Female 70-74 years OTAGO)
‘As long as it is sort of day time and you’re not travelling too far’ (ID6 Female 70-74 years FAME)