Despite the significant increase in years that an individual can now expect to live in the 21st century, there is growing evidence that the price for greater longevity may be worsening health due to the higher prevalence of nonfatal but disabling conditions. This sobering news suggests the need for expanded scientific inquiry directed at understanding the multilevel factors that promote or prevent physical activity (PA) participation and the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors and the types of intervention strategies that will be most effective in positively changing behavior at different life stages. Fruitful areas of future scientific inquiry include exploring other types and intensities of PA aimed at increasing PA participation while reducing sedentary behavior, better understanding the role of the physical and social environment in promoting PA participation, and designing and evaluating multilevel PA interventions that are better tailored to the activity preferences, goals, and expectations of a diverse older adult population, and flexibly delivered in real-world settings. Finally, conducting research aimed at better differentiating normal age-associated changes from those that are disease-related will be fundamental to reversing the negative stereotypes that currently shape the public’s view of the aging process.
Elderly athletes running the marathon offer a barometer of what is possible in physical aging. Gender, however, has a strong influence on one’s chances in the marathon race, just as it has on the manner and pace with which one navigates the marathon of life. This article looks at the obstacles that women, especially older women, have had to overcome in order to compete in the marathon race. It explores the ways that gender has limited their real and perceived opportunities in pursuing strenuous sports and shows how male–female dichotomies have been used historically to perpetuate patriarchal views on the ways women could and should use their bodies. Finally, it illustrates how feminist inquiry and methods of analysis can help us understand why aging women in the past have more often been seen as “eternally wounded” than as special candidates for sporting excellence in later life.
Iain A. Greenlees, Ben Hall, Andrew Manley, and Richard C. Thelwell
Nelson (2002) proposed that ageism occurs as a result of the negative perceptions individuals have of older adults. This study examined whether information about an older person’s exercise habits would influence such perceptions. Participants (N = 1,230) from 3 age categories (16–25, 26–55, and 56+ yr) read a description of a 65-year-old man or woman describing 1 of 7 exercise statuses. Participants rated their perceptions of 13 aspects of the target’s personality. A 3-way (Target Exercise Status × Target Gender × Participant Age) MANOVA revealed significant main effects for target exercise status. Nonexercisers were perceived less positively than the control target and the exercising targets. The results suggest that there are self-presentational costs associated with being a nonexerciser at an older age, but few self-presentation benefits accrued to older adults who engage in regular exercise.
David Geard, Peter R.J. Reaburn, Amanda L. Rebar, and Rylee A. Dionigi
During the 20th century, approximately 30 years were added to human life expectancy ( Oeppen & Vaupel, 2002 ). This increase in life expectancy, coupled with better health care and declining fertility rates, has led to a significant aging of the global population. Consequently, the number of people
Pantelis T. Nikolaidis, Stefania Di Gangi, and Beat Knechtle
,000,000 finishers in 2014. In contrast to the number of marathon races that remained stable (∼1,100 races per year), the number of half-marathons increased to 2,800 races in 2016 from 2,700 races in 2015 ( www.runningusa.org/half-marathon-report-2017 ). Little is known about the age-related performance decline in
Amal A. Wanigatunga, Fangyu Liu, Jacek K. Urbanek, Hang Wang, Junrui Di, Vadim Zipunnikov, Yurun Cai, Ryan J. Dougherty, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Luigi Ferrucci, and Jennifer A. Schrack
Physical activity declines with age ( Hallal et al., 2012 ), tending to accelerate in later life ( Buchman et al., 2014 ). Traditionally, self-report questionnaires captured these declines by assessing participation in moderate-to-vigorous intensity activities (e.g., exercise; Keadle et al., 2016
Arun Eswaran and Brad A. Meisner
Ageism involves generalized beliefs (stereotypes), attitudes (prejudice), and behaviors (discrimination) toward individuals of an age group based on their chronological age rather than on other individuating attributes ( Ayalon & Tesch-Römer, 2017 ; Iversen et al., 2009 ; Meisner & Levy, 2016
Heather M. Hamilton and Rumit Singh Kakar
Running is an increasingly popular form of exercise that provides numerous health benefits. 1 In aging runners, running has been associated with decreased disability and mortality. 2 However, aging is associated with several physiological and biomechanical changes that may interfere with aging
Hilary A.T. Caldwell, Nicole A. Proudfoot, Natascja A. DiCristofaro, John Cairney, Steven R. Bray, and Brian W. Timmons
health indicators in school-age children, and that moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) mediated the relationship between physical literacy and aerobic fitness. 3 Among a sample of youth from northern Canada, physical literacy was moderately associated ( r = .20–.44) with self
Bora Jin and Idethia Shevon Harvey
The proportion of older adults in the global population is rapidly increasing ( Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2018 ). The number of Americans aged 65 years and older will increase from 46 million to more than 98 million by 2060 ( Administration for Community Living, 2018