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Research on variables that encourage older adults to exercise is limited. This study was carried out to identify the participation motives of older Australians involved in regular exercise and sport. The 815 participants (399 men, 416 women) ranged in age from 55 to 93 years (M = 63.6, SD = 7.8) and were participating in their activities of choice at least once per week. All participants completed the Participation Motivation Questionnaire for Older Adults. The most common exercise/sport activities that participants were involved in were walking, golf, lawn bowls, tennis, and swimming. The most highly reported motives for participation were to keep healthy, liking the activity, to improve fitness, and to maintain joint mobility. Principal-components analysis of the questionnaire revealed 6 factors: social, fitness, recognition, challenge/benefits, medical, and involvement. Analyses of variance showed significant differences in reasons for participation in exercise and sport based on gender, age, education level, and occupation.
Kolt and Driver are with the Faculty of Health, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Giles is with the Division of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Australia.