Reasons Why Older Adults Engage in Physical Exercise. Comparative Study Eastern Europe Versus Southern Europe

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Introduction: Research on variables that encourage older adults to exercise is limited. This study was carried out to identify the participation motives of older Europeans involved in regular exercise. Methods: The 418 (170 men, 248 women) who participated in the survey are participants of the Erasmus Plus European Project In Common Sports. The participants were divided into two groups. Italy, Portugal, and Spain formed the Southern Europe group, and Bulgaria and Hungary the Eastern European group. All participants completed the Participation Motivation Questionnaire: Older Adults. Results: The most highly reported motives for participation were to have fun, stay in shape, keep healthy, and an enjoyment of exercise. Principal-components analysis of the questionnaire revealed six factors: social, fitness, recognition, challenge/benefits, medical, and involvement. Conclusions: The reasons why the residents of Southern European practice exercise are more related to medical reasons, while for Eastern Europe these reasons are more related to recognition.

Cancela, Pereira, and Mollinedo are with the Faculty of Education and Sport Science, University of Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain. Cancela is also with the HealthyFit Research Group, Galicia Sur Health Research Institute (IIS Galicia Sur), Sergas-UVIGO, Vigo, Spain. Ferreira is with the Municipality of Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal. Bezerra is with the Escola Superior de Desporto e Lazer de Melgaço, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Melgaço, Portugal; and the Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESD, Vila Real, Portugal.

Cancela (chemacc@uvigo.es) is corresponding author.
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