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Debra J. Rose

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.

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Patricia Vertinsky

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.

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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.

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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

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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 ( ). Little is known about the age-related performance decline in

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Edward J. Masoro

Although physiological deterioration occurs with advancing adult age, the interpretation of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of age-changes in physiological processes are often complicated by confounders unrelated to aging. Age-associated disease is a major cause of physiological deterioration. To avoid this factor, only subjects free of discernible disease are used in many studies of what is referred to as “normal” aging. However, it is important to recognize that age-associated disease is not only a common occurrence but also an integral part of aging. Increasingly, gene-environment interactions are recognized as playing a major role in age-associated physiological deterioration, and there is great individual variation in both the rate of aging and the occurrence of age-associated physiological deterioration.

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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

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Guy El Hajj Boutros, José A. Morais, and Antony D. Karelis

It is a well-recognized fact that our society is growing older. This aging of the population is observed in developed as well as in developing countries, albeit at a faster pace in the latter ( World Health Organization [WHO], 2015 ). According to the World Health Organization, the aging of the

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David Geard, Amanda L. Rebar, Peter Reaburn, and Rylee A. Dionigi

Successful aging has been a central theme within gerontology for over half a century ( Martin & Gillen, 2014 ). However, global population aging and its associated health, economic, and socio-structural challenges ( Bloom, Canning, & Lubet, 2015 ) has raised academic interest in successful aging to

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Emmanuel Gomes Ciolac, José Messias Rodrigues da Silva, and Rodolfo Paula Vieira

Population aging is an unprecedented worldwide phenomenon that affects both developed and developing countries. 1 This aging process is changing the demographic profile of society, resulting in a need for adapting the sociopolitical system to the new reality of increasing demand for geriatric