Conflating Time and Energy: Views From Older Adults in Lower Socioeconomic Status Areas on Physical Activity

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Perceptions of time and energy and their role in physical activity engagement were examined in older adults living in lower socioeconomic status areas. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 19 participants aged 67–94 years. A thematic framework analysis identified four themes: Time is Energy (older adults conflate time and energy in relation to physical activity), Reduced Day (engaging in activities outside a certain time frame is deemed unacceptable), Being Given Enough Time (need for time to socialize and go at own pace), and Seasonal Impact (seasonal differences affecting access). Enjoyment appears to mitigate the perceived energy drain and increase the capacity for physical activities for many. Conflation of time and energy may explain observed discrepancies between older adults’ actual and perceived available time. Having locally based physical activities means less time/energy is required to attend, leaving more resources for physical activity itself. A limited availability of resources in lower socioeconomic status areas is therefore problematic.

Devereux-Fitzgerald, Powell, and French are with Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, School of Health Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Angela Devereux-Fitzgerald at

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