Instructors’ perceptions of mostly seated exercise classes: Exploring the concept of chair based exercise.

Katie Robinson, Tahir Masud, Helen Hawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chair based exercise (CBE) can be used to engage older adults unable to take part in standing exercise programmes. Defining and understanding the context of CBE has been acknowledged as a challenge. We explore instructor experiences of delivering mostly seated exercise classes for older people and how this helps us to further understand the concept of CBE.
We extracted qualitative data from a cross-sectional survey with 731 exercise instructors. 378 delivered mostly seated classes and 223 of those instructors provided qualitative data. There were 155 instructors who did not provide any qualitative comments. Framework analysis was used and informed by a Delphi consensus study on CBE.
Instructors perceived mostly seated classes as predominantly CBE; they defined it as an introductory class that should be offered as part of a continuum of exercise. It was considered suitable for those with limitations, older adults in long-term care and with dementia. Instructors reported CBE used inappropriately for more active older people. Instructors reported observing improvements in mood, cognition and broader social benefits.
Instructors’ perspectives largely support expert consensus that CBE has an important role in a continuum of exercise. Providers of CBE need to ensure that more challenging exercises are introduced where appropriate. Further research is needed to explore older adults’ perceptions of CBE.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2016


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