Exercise classes for falls prevention: Older men's participation and perspectives

Laura Hogue
10 February 2022

Hogue, L. (2021). Exercise classes for falls prevention: Older men's participation and perspectives. (A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree Master of Applied Science at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand). https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.5597


Exercise classes remain a common and recommended evidence-based intervention in falls prevention. Much of the literature supports the effectiveness of classes to reduce falls in community dwelling adults and adherence rates remain relatively high. However, estimations are that women outnumber men 3:1 in classes and reasons for this are not clear. Most studies in falls prevention have included only female participants and few have specifically reported on gender perspectives regarding class participation. This study aims to explore why there are fewer men than women attending exercise classes for falls prevention.
The literature review in Chapter 2 highlights the gap involving older men in falls prevention research and explores how underlying beliefs and values in society, such as masculinity, can influence uptake and engagement in health services. In Chapter 3, the findings from the original study, as part of this thesis, are outlined. Firstly, that men are less likely to report falls and will try to reduce their falls risk in other ways. Secondly, the men also felt that classes are mostly aimed at women, therefore would not feel comfortable attending. The main conclusion from this thesis is that exercise classes for falls prevention do not meet the needs of older men and attendance rates for men will continue to be low compared to women. It is recommended that further research be conducted with older men to develop and explore options that do work for them to reduce the risk and rate of falls amongst the older population. This thesis adds to an emerging body of literature that falls prevention programmes need to reflect a gender perspective and approach.

Keywords: older men, falls, exercise classes

Laura's research was supervised by Richard Humphrey and Glenys Forsyth.



This thesis is publically available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

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