Aim: Regular walking exercise (RWE) is associated with increased cardiovascular fitness and might elevate subjective psychological well-being. Positive education links positive psychology concepts with self-efficacy through the curriculum, which helps foster well-being. This study examines if regular walking exercise with positive education has better effects on cardiovascular fitness and happiness than RWE alone in retired older adults. Methods: Three arms of experimental design were used: pedometer walking exercise training (PWET); positive education and pedometer walking exercise training (PEPWET); and pedometer walking exercise (PWE). Trained walking exercise was provided to the PWET and PEPWET groups by a walking exercise coach three times per week, for 45 min per session for 12 weeks. Positive education was designed and led by a licensed PhD psychologist every other week. Of 150 participants, 60, 60 and 30 were randomly assigned to PWET, PEPWET and PWE, respectively. Demographic information, Chinese Happiness Inventory, RWE, and 6-min walking distance were assessed before and after the intervention. Results: The percentage of participants who practiced RWE after 12 weeks was significantly higher in the PEPWET group (96.7%), followed by the PWET (75%) and PWE groups (40%). Cardiovascular fitness in the PWET and PEPWET groups was significantly better than in the PWE group. Chinese Happiness Inventory scores in the PWET and PEPWET groups were significantly higher than in the PWE group, and the PEPWET group also showed significantly higher Chinese Happiness Inventory scores than the PWET group. Conclusions: In addition to RWE, the study findings show that positive education can be beneficial to promote older adults’ RWE, cardiovascular fitness and happiness. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2019; 19: 879–884.
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