Older Adult Perspectives on Physical Activity and Exercise: Voices From Multiple Cultures


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Basia Belza

The purpose of this study was to examine barriers and facilitators to physical activity and exercise among underserved, ethnically diverse older adults. Results of this study reveal that although there are ethnic-specific variations in factors influencing physical activity, there are more common themes than variations. Within an ecological model (17), patterns of health and well-being and physical activity are affected by a dynamic interaction among biological (e.g., health, disease, chronological age), psychological (e.g., enjoyment, self-efficacy, motivation, personal safety, fear of falling), social (e.g., social support, companionship, family involvement), and environmental (e.g., weather) factors. In addition, behaviors and habits (e.g., exercise history, readiness for activity) play a role in the ecological model. The interaction of these factors unfolds over the life of the individual, family, and community. Participants talked about being active as youngsters and continuing to be active as older adults. An individual’s internal programming for a physically active lifestyle starts at an early age. Nies et al similarly noted the important role of internal and external contextual influences on developing and maintaining physical activity (18).

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