As women age, society assigns stereotypes that suggest that older women are no longer capable of being competent athletes. In considering the experiences of older women in sport from a sociological perspective, this article provides a short summary of works examining older women in masters sport settings, as well as three brief case studies of older women engaged in sport and movement. As American women age, more of them will have experienced organized high school sport (after the passage of Title IX), suggesting that the experiences of older women in sport will take on new dimensions and meanings worthy of exploration.
Maureen M. Smith
Catrine Tudor-Locke and Stephanie Broyles
The focus of a physically active lifestyle for older adults is to preserve functional mobility and delay losses associated with decrepitude in later years. Since ambulation is of utmost importance to older adults’ mobility, the purpose of this nonexhaustive review is to consider older adults’ walking behaviors objectively captured as steps/day and the factors that shape them. Summarized evidence currently indicates that apparently healthy older adults accumulate between 2,000–9,000 steps/day and that older adults living with disabilities and/or chronic conditions average approximately 1,200–8,800 steps/day. The scientific body of objectively monitored knowledge focused on potential individual, program, and contextual factors that shape older adults’ walking behaviors expressed as steps/day (i.e., their ability to and practice of getting “out and about”) is infantile at this time. We provide a simple research agenda to spark scholarly efforts to address research gaps and opportunities in the collective knowledge base.
Wendy J. Brown and Toby Pavey
The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) commenced in Australia in 1996 when researchers recruited approximately 40,000 women in three birth cohorts: 1973–1978, 1946–1951, and 1921–1926. Since then participants have completed surveys on a wide range of health issues, at approximately three-year intervals. This overview describes changes in physical activity (PA) over time in the mid-age and older ALSWH cohorts, and summarizes the findings of studies published to date on the determinants of PA, and its associated health outcomes in Australian women. The ALSWH data show a significant increase in PA during mid-age, and a rapid decline in activity levels when women are in their 80s. The study has demonstrated the importance of life stages and key life events as determinants of activity, the additional benefits of vigorous activity for mid-age women, and the health benefits of ‘only walking’ for older women. ALSWH researchers have also drawn attention to the benefits of activity in terms of a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes, as well as overall vitality and well-being. The data indicate that maintaining a high level of PA throughout mid and older age will not only reduce the risk of premature death, but also significantly extend the number of years of healthy life.
Katie E. Cherry, Jennifer Silva Brown, Sangkyu Kim, and S. Michal Jazwinski
Social behaviors are associated with health outcomes in later life. The authors examined relationships among social and physical activities and health in a lifespan sample of adults (N = 771) drawn from the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study (LHAS). Four age groups were compared: younger (21–44 years), middle-aged (45–64 years), older (65–84 years), and oldest-old adults (85–101 years). Linear regression analyses indicated that physical activity, hours spent outside of the house, and social support were significantly associated with selfreported health, after controlling for sociodemographic factors. Number of clubs was significantly associated with objective health status, after controlling for sociodemographic factors. These data indicate that social and physical activities remain important determinants of self-perceived health into very late adulthood. Implications of these data for current views on successful aging are discussed.
L.R. Brawley, P.K. Flora, S.R. Locke, and M.S.H. Gierc
In this paper, we argue that the social influence of the group is a supportive medium for older adult thriving. To promote the physical well-being aspect of thriving, we discuss groups as one means of offering social support. We present a specific model of physical activity intervention (i.e., group-mediated cognitive behavioral intervention) that uses deliberately-formed interactive groups to help motivate older adults to engage in and sustain physical activity. Our article includes four sections that concern the GMCB intervention model. The first serves as background as to why groups can be powerful behavior change agents and describes the basic model of group motivated intervention. The second section provides a generic description of the intervention structure and how the GMCB intervention is conducted. The third section presents a meta-analytic summary of results of older adult GMCB physical activity interventions across three levels of outcomes: adherence to physical activity, functional and physiological, and social cognitive. The fourth section concludes with commentary about the translational perspective for the GMCB in the future.
Peter W. Grandjean, Burritt W. Hess, Nicholas Schwedock, Jackson O. Griggs, and Paul M. Gordon
Kinesiology programs are well positioned to create and develop partnerships within the university, with local health care providers, and with the community to integrate and enhance the activities of professional training, community service, public health outreach, and collaborative research. Partnerships with medical and health care organizations may be structured to fulfill accreditation standards and the objectives of the “Exercise is Medicine®” initiative to improve public health through primary prevention. Barriers of scale, location, time, human resources, and funding can be overcome so all stakeholder benefits are much greater than the costs.