Date of Award

8-29-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.H.K.

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

van Wyk, Paula

Second Advisor

Horton, Sean

Keywords

Aging, Health Promotion, Phenomenology, Physical Activity, Successful Aging

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

A major concern in the context of aging populations is improving patterns of physical activity involvement. However, there is insufficient knowledge pertaining to the relationship between successful aging and physical activity in the lives of older Canadian adults targeted in health promotion strategies. Preliminary evidence suggests that older Canadian women have varying beliefs about the ways they can age successfully and the perceived role that physical activity plays in this process. Thus, the objectives of this research project were to (1) develop a critical and in-depth understanding of successful aging and physical activity in the lives of older Canadian men and, (2) inform the development of health promotion initiatives and sport policy aimed at older adults. Semi­structured interviews were administered to 19 older Canadian men (75-90 years of age) who varied in their level of physical activity involvement (active, inactive, active with assistance). A thematic analysis was used to analyze the data through the use of standard coding and comparison procedures. Throughout the data collected, three overall themes emerged: meanings of aging, Physically Active Leisure – lived experiences, and directions for health promotion strategies. Overall, findings suggest that older Canadian men also have varying beliefs about the ways they can age successfully and the perceived role that physical activity plays in this process. For example, inactive participants (who are the logical targets of health promotion strategies) placed less importance on popularized biomedical elements of aging success and regular structured exercise than active participants. Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers should be aware of the varying perspectives older adults use to frame the intersection of successful aging and physical activity so that health programs and policy may be tailored accordingly.

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