A Case Study of Physical Activity among Older Adults in Rural Newfoundland, Canada

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Chad S.G. Witcher
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Nicholas L. Holt
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John C. Spence
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Sandra O’Brien Cousins
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The purpose of this study was to assess rural older adults’ perceptions of leisure-time physical activity and examine these perceptions from a historical perspective. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 inhabitants (mean age 82 years) of Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to inductive analysis. Member-checking interviews were conducted with 5 participants. Findings indicated that beginning in childhood, participants were socialized into a subculture of work activity. As a result of these historical and social forces, leisure-time physical activity did not form part of the participants’ lives after retirement. Strategies for successful aging involved keeping busy, but this “busyness” did not include leisure-time physical activity. Results demonstrated the importance of developing a broader understanding of how past and present-day contexts can influence participation in leisure-time physical activity.

The authors are with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H9. Please send correspondence to Chad Witcher: cwitcher@ualberta.net

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