Motivating Exercise for Seniors


Aging is an inevitable part of life and along with aging, health and physical problems can become present. There are many devices, technology, etc. that can be used by older adults in order to benefit them, including the use of a fitbit or jawbone. These devices can be used to motive older adults to exercise and to help prevent the risk of age related health issues.

A fitbit is a device that you place around your wrist like a bracelet; they come in various versions and colors. A fitbit is used as a tracking device for your exercise. The idea is that you can set goals for yourself and your daily exercise and the fitbit will track it for you letting you know where you are within your goal and when you have reached that goal by vibrating on your bracelet. The fitbit is used by placing the bracelet around your wrist, but you also download an app on your phone or tablet which is used to show you your goals, your exercise each day, and even tracks your sleep on the bracelet that transfers to your phone. A jawbone up also displays these features, as well as the ability to track your diet and weight loss. Jawbone has the ability to look at the nutritional value of the foods you are eating and how you can achieve your dieting goals. Both of these devices are wristbands and are used to track and pursue a healthy lifestyle. The main differences between the fitbit and the jawbone are the appearance and a select few features. There are multiple versions of both the fitbit and jawbone, so each will vary in the abilities each version has. The main difference between the jawbone and fitbit is that the jawbone is a little slimmer, and has the ability to track dieting and food nutritional values in the jawbone.

In paper 1, I talked about the stereotypes of health and exercise decline in older adults, as much of it was untrue; there was some truth to this as well, as the decline in physical ability is apparent in older adults. Arthritis, osteoporosis, breathing difficulties, brittling of the bones, muscular atrophy, along with many other potential injuries and conditions are risks of aging. (Krupa, 2017.) These age related health risks can help be prevented or delay the risk by the use of fitbit or jawbone. By staying active older adults are more likely to have fewer issues with stiffening joints and arthritis. It is inevitable that the more an older adult sits around, the more likely their mobility will decrease. In the article “Activity engagement and physical function in old age Sample”, by Shah Krupa, Lin Feng V. Yu Fang, and McMahon James M., after doing a cross sectional experiment over 10 years using adults over 55 years of age; they tested grip strength and gait speed. After the physical fitness tests three surveys were taken assessing the topics of mental physical and social in order to get an idea of the older adults daily activity level. The older adults that were involved in exercise and activities in their community performed better all around on the tests and surveys. This is where a fitbit or jawbone can come in handy for aging and older adults. It can be a device that really motivates them every day to reach their goal of exercise for that day. This can be something simple as walking and having a goal of an amount of steps for that day. Fitbit’s and Jawbone’s are fairly simple to activate and set up, and even someone can help the older adult set up their new device if needed. This can be a great way for older adults to get out and get active to help decrease their risk for potential aging related injuries. Exercise can even increase brain activity and increase ability to perform mental related tasks such as puzzles, or engaging in conversations with other people. (Krupa et. al, 2017.) These devices not only can prevent weight gain and other age related risks, but also can help older adults stay active in their community and their want to have a part with other people they are around, by making friends or participating in groups with various other people.

In another article, “Community-Based Healthy Aging Interventions for Older Adults with Arthritis & Multimorbidity”, by Janice C. Zgibor et. al, multiple programs were put into place in multiple locations including 13 senior centers, 15 residential facilities, 9 churches, 5 community centers, 4 YMCA’s, 4 fitness centers, and 4 libraries all in Pittsburg. These programs consisted of a 60-minute session in which professionals would lead a group of older adults with arthritis or other age related health issues to do various activities such as exercise education along with various physical activities to help them get active. (Zgibor Janice C., et. al, 2017.) These groups of people were followed up after 6 months of participating in the activities, and though some people did not continue with the sessions, the overall outcome was that there was an increase in the older adults feeling healthier and better overall physically even with their health conditions. This study can be related to the use of a fitbit and or jawbone device, as they both promote a healthy lifestyle and exercise everyday. This way, if these adults don’t want to continue doing a group session to exercise, they can use their wrist device to make their own goals daily, and to exercise on their own time. At an older age, the exercises are going to be primarily body weight and not extremely rigorous. Fitbit and jawbone both track heart rate and the amount of time that someone exercises everyday along with the sleep that one receives at night. These devices can be attractive and helpful for older adults as it may motivate them to promote a healthy lifestyle regardless of their condition. The fitbit and jawbone can also be used in classes like the ones described in the study. If an older adult wants to track their exercise within that class and to reach their ultimate goal these devices can help them track their exercise in the class as well as their daily nutrition and to reach their goal of health at that point in their life.

A fitbit or jawbone may not be optimal for an older adult, as it takes practice to use the app and technology involved in looking at all your tracking information online, however older adults are very clever and should not be underestimated for their knowledge of technology. Along with the use of technology, the wristbands have access to see the time, heart rate, and other small features, however it may be difficult to read with declining vision due to aging. The devices could be optimized for older adults by making the screen bigger and being able to read all tracking information on their wrist, rather than having to access the app to do so. Many older adults have the technology to get the app, however many may not either. It could be a great idea for these sessions from the study by Zgibor Janice C. et. al, to provide the participants wanting to improve their health with a fitbit or jawbone and have a course to show how it can be used.

After reading the articles and the studies involved in them, along with the information about the use of fitbit and jawbone wristbands, it seems to be a great idea for older adults to be introduced to this technology to not only help them get out and get active, but as well as to prevent or delay the risk of age related health issues. It is an inevitable part of aging to have some health risks become present, whether noticeable or not, and the fitbit and jawbone exercise trackers can be a step forward for older adults to stay motivated to exercise and prevent the risks from becoming prevalent or worsening in some cases.



Shah Krupa N., Lin Feng V., Yu Fang, McMahon James M. (2017) Activity engagement and physical function in old age sample. Archives of Gerontology & Geriatrics. Vol. 69, p55-60. 6p.

Zgibor Janice C., Lei Ye, Boudreau Robert M., Conroy Molly B., Vander Bilt Joni, Rodgers Elizabeth A., Schlenk Elizabeth A., Mini E, Jacob, Brandenstein Jane, Albert Steven M., Newman Anne B. Community-Based Healthy Aging Interventions for Older Adults with Arthritis & Multimorbidity. Journal of Community Health. (2017)


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