This qualitative study explores how older Hong Kong Chinese Australians perceive aging and to what extent this perception affects their participation in physical activities. The main methods used were in-depth interviews with 22 participants ranging in age from 60 to 91 years. Interviews were translated from Chinese (Cantonese) and transcribed into English. Content analysis was used to find recurring themes from the interview data. The main findings indicate that the perception of aging is to some extent influenced by culture. Some participants defined aging as being measured in years, and others defined it by the state of one’s physical health, appearance, and capacity to continue fulfilling one’s social roles. These perceptions strongly influenced their preferences for and participation in physical activities. Acknowledging the fact that Chinese-speaking people are not culturally homogeneous, this article makes some recommendations to health service providers with regard to the development of appropriate physical activity programs.
The author is with the Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.