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Marilyn Strawbridge

The purpose of this study was to describe (1) the current physical activity (PA) levels of women who were among the earliest competitors in organized intercollegiate sports during the late 1960s and 1970s. Activity was determined using the Godin Leisure Time Questionnaire. Of the 103 subjects, 45% reported participation in strenuous activity (MET level 9), and 41% reported participation in moderate activity (MET level 5) more than 3 times per week. The majority of women often (50%) or sometimes (38%) participated in activity long enough to work up a sweat. Only 12 % reported never engaging in activity long enough to work up a sweat. Most women (66%) currently participate in physical activity to gain health or fitness or for recreation. A much smaller percentage (13%) still enjoys competition. Most women (60%) performed these activities alone while only 3% participated in group activities. Most (73%) indicated that the opportunity to participate in their college sport does not currently exist, while 27% indicated that they still participate. Reasons for not participating included no program available (27%), musculo-skeltal problems (15%), no desire (6%) and that their college sport was too vigorous (3%). The most common activities in which women currently participate are golf, running, jogging and walking and tennis. A large majority (97%) indicated previous intercollegiate participation had very positively influenced their current participation in physical activity.

Unlike the majority of their peers, this population of women who competed in the early intercollegiate athletics has tended to stay active in spite of decreasing opportunities to engage in team and other physical activities after college and as they age.