Stage-Specific Education/Counseling Intervention in Women with Elevated Blood Pressure

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Many women with elevated blood pressure who seek exercise opportunities require a flexible program with systematic follow-up. The study framework included motivational readiness (exercise stage of change) from the Transtheoretical Model and self-efficacy theory. This pilot study, which used a one-group repeated measures design, tested the feasibility of a stage-specific education/counseling intervention aimed at improving exercise outcomes in women with elevated blood pressure. Forty women completed a 2.5-hour session including prescription for moderate-vigorous exercise on their own, practice on equipment, maintenance of an exercise diary, and contracting; three follow-up calls (Weeks 1, 2, 3); a visit (Week 4); and a final call (Week 5). After the intervention, 85% of women moved to or remained in the action or maintenance stages of change, the highest levels of readiness; none relapsed. Exercise self-efficacy and benefits increased and barriers decreased (P<.05); 70% of participants increased exercise performance. The intervention was feasible. Further testing is warranted using larger samples and including a control group.

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