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Title: Active Women: An Exploration of Women's Active Leisure Pursuits
Contributor(s): McNeill, Annette Yvonne (author); Somerville, Margaret (supervisor); Dymock, Darryl (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2000
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This study addresses the many problems associated with reduced physical activity in industrialized societies, believed in part to be due to improved living standards. Because of the low level of participation in active sport and/or leisure pursuits there are concerns for the long-term ramifications in terms of the heavy burden on the health system. To intensify this situation, hospitals and nursing homes are filled with a high proportion of older women experiencing 'the "bitter fruits" of chronic disease and disability' (Vertinsky 1998, p.87), largely due to the lack of regular exercise. To address this situation older women who do exercise were interviewed to identify how they have managed to develop regular exercise patterns. Three main questions were asked: Why they started? What influenced their choice? What aspects of the chosen programs keep them returning? Bandura's (1986) Self-efficacy Theory provided the underlying conceptual framework for analysis of the results. Factors found to influence these women's choices included family and friends, work/leisure beliefs, education and other interests. The reasons they had developed the exercise habit included: to improve health, for pain relief, for weight control and/or to reduce stress. Aspects of the programs that kept them returning were related to motivation, which was maintained by the enjoyment, the social support, variety and the absence of competition and/or expense. Of all these factors the one found to be have the strongest influence, not only on their choices when starting but their continuation, was the social support they found from friends, family and significant others in their lives. The conclusion drawn from this study is that, apart from promoting more fun and enjoyment in physical activity from a young age, there is a need for provision of more equitable opportunities for older people, especially women. The strongest implications for this are convincing and consistent role models of active older women of all ages and ethnic groups. Promotion could also include images of dynamic older women in positions of authority negotiating and establishing opportunities they have chosen for themselves with an attitude towards aging that is more exciting and exhilarating and alive than ever before.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 2000 - Annette Yvonne McNeill
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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Thesis Masters Research

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