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Rachel Cholerton, Helen Quirk, Jeff Breckon, and Joanne Butt

Adults aged 55+ years are most likely to be inactive, despite research suggesting that older adults experience multiple benefits when participating in physical activity and sport. Limited research focuses on long-term continuation of sport participation in this population, especially in “adapted sports” like walking football. This study explored the experiences of walking football maintenance in 55- to 75-year-old players. Semistructured interviews were conducted, with 17 older adults maintaining walking football play over 6 months. The inductive analysis revealed five higher-order themes representing maintenance influences and two higher-order themes relating to maintenance mechanisms (i.e., the conscious process by which players maintain). Influences when maintaining walking football included individual- and culture-level influences (e.g., perceived benefits of maintenance and ability acceptance). Maintenance mechanisms included cognitions and behaviors (e.g., scheduling sessions and redefining physical activity expectations). Findings highlight novel implications for policy and practice, which are important to consider when delivering walking football to older adults.

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Rachel Cholerton, Jeff Breckon, Joanne Butt, and Helen Quirk

Adults aged 55 and older are least likely to play sport. Despite research suggesting this population experiences physical and psychological benefits when doing so, limited research focuses on older adult sport initiation, especially in “adapted sports” such as walking football. The aim of this study was to explore initiation experiences of walking football players between 55 and 75 years old. Semistructured interviews took place with 17 older adults playing walking football for 6 months minimum (Mage = 64). Inductive analysis revealed six higher order themes representing preinitiation influences. Eight further higher order themes were found, relating to positive and negative experiences during initiation. Fundamental influences preinitiation included previous sporting experiences and values and perceptions. Emergent positive experiences during initiation included mental development and social connections. Findings highlight important individual and social influences when initiating walking football, which should be considered when encouraging 55- to 75-year-old adults to play adapted sport. Policy and practice recommendations are discussed.

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Rachel Cholerton, Joanne Butt, Helen Quirk, and Jeff Breckon

Despite health benefits gained from physical activity and sport participation, older adults are less likely to be active. This study investigates what influences 50- to 75-year-olds (N = 439) to initiate and maintain walking football, across gender, socioeconomic status, number of health conditions, and physical activity level. It also considers relationships between participant characteristics and influences, and intentions to play after a forced break (COVID-19). Results of a U.K. online cross-sectional survey found those with two or more health conditions rated social influences significantly higher in initiation and maintenance than participants with no health conditions. Multiple regression analysis found a positive walking football culture, and perceived use of maintenance resources contributed significantly to intentions to return to play after COVID-19 restrictions eased. Practitioners should consider providing opportunities for social connection, foster a positive walking football culture, and encourage players to utilize maintenance resources (e.g., scheduling sessions) in older adult walking football sessions.

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Joanne Butt, Robert S. Weinberg, Jeff D. Breckon, and Randal P. Claytor

Background:

Physical activity (PA) declines as adolescents get older, and the motivational determinants of PA warrant further investigation. The purposes of this study were to investigate the amount of physical and sedentary activity that adolescents participated in across age, gender, and race, and to investigate adolescents’ attraction to PA and their perceived barriers and benefits across age, gender, and race.

Methods:

High school students (N = 1163) aged between 13 and 16 years completed questionnaires on minutes and intensity of physical and sedentary activity, interests in physical activity, and perceived benefits and barriers to participating in PA.

Results:

A series of multivariate analyses of variance were conducted and followed up with discriminant function analysis. PA participation decreased in older females. In addition, fun of physical exertion was a primary attraction to PA for males more than females. Body image as an expected outcome of participating in PA contributed most to gender differences.

Conclusion:

There is a need to determine why PA drops-off as females get older. Findings underscore the importance of structuring activities differently to sustain interest in male and female adolescents, and highlights motives of having a healthy body image, and making PA fun to enhance participation.