“Not Everybody’s an Athlete, But They Certainly Can Move”: Facilitators of Physical Activity Maintenance in Older Adults in a Northern and Rural Setting

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Although the benefits of maintaining a physical activity regime for older adults are well known, it is unclear how programs and facilities can best support long-term participation. The purpose of this study is to determine the facilitating factors of physical activity maintenance in older adults at individual, program, and community levels. Nine semistructured interviews were conducted with individuals aged 60 years and older and long-term participants (>6 months) in community-based group exercise at a clinical wellness facility in northern British Columbia, Canada. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via inductive thematic analysis. Themes identified as facilitators of physical activity included (a) social connections, (b) individual contextual factors, and (c) healthy aging. Older adults are more likely to maintain physical activity when environments foster healthy aging and provide opportunity for social engagement.

Ward and Pelletier are with the School of Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. Ward is now with the Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Pousette is with Promotion of Wellness in Northern BC (WINBC), Prince George, British Columbia, Canada; Clinical Faculty, Northern Medical Program, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada; and Medical Staff, University Hospital of Northern British Columbia, Northern Health, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

Pelletier (chelsea.pelletier@unbc.ca) is corresponding author.
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