Exploring diminished opportunities for physical activity in an older 'sporty' adult cohort


Research has documented the personal and social/environmental conditions influencing physical activity (PA; Sallis & Owen, 1999), however, almost no research has inspected conditions in older sporting adults (Cardenas et al., 2009). This study explored self-reported conditions influencing PA in a sample of 75 (74.7% male; ages 55-82) 'sporty' adults who had participated in Canadian Senior Games events. Participants completed responses for PA (GLTEQ; Godin & Shephard, 1985), demographics, and 48 previously-validated measures surveying ecological influences on PA (Carey & Young, 2012). Following a median split on GLTEQ (at 41 METS), we conducted PA group (high, lower) MANOVAs separately for intrapersonal (three scales), interpersonal (seven scales), and environmental (five scales) conditions. Significant interactions were reported when post-hoc tests confirmed less-facilitative conditions for the lower PA cohort. The lower PA group reported less 'self-efficacy and motivation' (eta2=.13). Post-hoc two-way ANOVAs showed this was especially true for females (eta2=.06) and working adults (eta2=.08). The lower PA group reported living in communities less conducive to PA, reflected in interactions on three scales (etas2>.12). Specifically, post-hoc ANOVAs showed less 'opportunities near home' was constraining for rural (eta2=.11) and working adults (eta2=.06). Lacking 'facilities and clubs nearby' was specifically constraining for 55-64 year-olds (eta2=.06) and workers (eta2=.07). The lower PA group also reported less 'support from coworkers' (eta2=.15), and 'family' (eta2=.13), and perceived age-related 'social norms' as less enabling (eta2=.11). We discuss the breadth of conditions to be considered in promoting activity among older sporty adults, and the significance of community type, gender, age, and work status.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported in part by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Sport Canada Strategic Initiative Grant