Materials-based occupation, imagery-based occupation, and rote exercise have been examined individually by several researchers. The present study compares all three approaches with one another (i.e., kicking a balloon, imagining kicking a balloon, and a control rote exercise) in nursing home residents. The dependent variable was the number of exercise repetitions. The subjects were 12 women and 3 men between 56 and 93 years of age residing in two nursing homes. All subjects experienced the three approaches but in different orders. One-way analysis of variance for related measures indicated a significant difference among conditions (p = .004). The Tukey procedure (Stevens, 1986) determined that the materials-based occupation condition elicited significantly more repetitions than the other two conditions. The difference between the imagery-based occupation and rote exercise was not statistically significant. These findings support our profession’s historical emphasis on the use of physical materials to enhance performance.

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