Helping older adults become more active: the SITLESS study

American Heart Association Releases Science Advisory on Sedentary Behaviour
September 12, 2016
PhD Opportunity at Glasgow Caledonian University
March 7, 2017

Today’s post comes from Dr Mark Tully, and describes the SITLESS study.  You can find more about the study at

The SITLESS study is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project being conducted in collaboration between seven institutions based in Europe, including; Fundacio Salut I Envelliment / FSIE (Spain), Blanquerna Foundation (Spain), University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), Queen’s University Belfast (UK), Ulm University (Germany), University of Glasgow (UK) and Siel Bleu (France). The primary aim of the SITless study is to assess the long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness (18 ­month follow-up) of a complex behavioural intervention on sedentary behaviour and physical activity in an inactive, community dwelling, older adult population based on existing exercise referral schemes (ERS) enhanced by self-management strategies (SMS).

Individuals aged 65 years and over who live in community settings, who are able to walk independently with or without an aid, who have a low physical activity level (insufficiently active to meet the current physical activity guidelines), who do not have uncontrolled disease and who are otherwise deemed suitable to take part in the exercise referral scheme by their healthcare professional will be recruited.

The study will include four assessment periods at baseline, post-intervention, 12-months and 18-months post-intervention. Participants will complete a variety of questionnaires and simple tests to assess their ability to complete certain everyday activities such as balancing, sit-to-stand and walking ability. Participants will also wear an ActiGraph activity monitor for seven days to measure their daily activity levels.

Participants will be randomised to either:

  • ERS+SMS group: An exercise programme combined with seven additional sessions lasting up to 17 weeks in total as well as four telephone calls. These will mainly be group-based sessions to help support individuals to sit less and be more active.
  • ERS group: Same intervention as above without receiving any additional sessions lasting for up to 16 weeks.
  • Control group: Receive general healthy lifestyle advice for older adults.

The study is starting to recruit participants in October 2016. If you would like to receive more information about the study, please visit the following websites: and

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