There Is Still Time to Be Active: Self-Perceptions of Aging, Physical Activity, and the Role of Perceived Residual Lifetime Among Older Adults

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Self-perceptions of aging (SPA) are a resource in later life. As aging is accompanied with perceptions of the finitude of life, it is assumed that perceived residual lifetime may play a role in the relationship between SPA and health behavior. Among older adults aged 65 years and older, the present study tested whether the relationships between gain- and loss-related SPA and two kinds of physical activity are moderated by perceived residual lifetime. Data were based on 2.367 participants over a 3-year period. Participants with less gain-related SPA were less likely to walk on a regular basis; however, a longer residual lifetime compensated for this negative effect. In addition, participants did sports more often if they not only held less loss-related SPA but also perceived a longer residual lifetime. These results emphasize the importance of perceived residual lifetime in health promotion interventions targeting physical activity in older adults.

Beyer and Wurm are with Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Institute of Psychogerontology, Nürnberg, Germany. Beyer is also with the German Centre of Gerontology, Berlin, Germany. Wiest is with Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Beyer (ann-kristin.beyer@fau.de) is corresponding author.
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