Ageism in the Fitness and Health Industry: A Review of the Literature

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This review aims to understand how age-related stereotypes against older adults’ physical capabilities influence their ability to engage in regular physical activity. The authors wanted to know how people construe ageism in the fitness and health arena, how ageism manifests in this field, and how ageism influences older adults’ learning and practicing physical activity. Data was extracted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Twenty-two empirical studies met the selection criteria. The findings revealed that the attributes of ageism fell into either self-imposed or other-directed ageism categories and manifested as implicit or explicit ageism. The study also identified the following four themes: (a) perceptions of aging and exercise, (b) exercise motivation, (c) opportunities for older adults, and (d) ambiguous positionality as older exercisers. The research provides evidence for the existence of ageism against older exercisers. Further research considering the implication of ageism within the exercising industry is necessary.

Jin is with the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA. Harvey is with the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA.

Jin (realbora00@tamu.edu) is corresponding author.
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