n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Health-related aspects and activity preference of the elderly in a South African setting : sport and physical activity

Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


An active lifestyle is severely compromised among elderly populations worldwide due to various physical, psychological, social and environmental challenges people face in the later stages of their life cycle. Factors affecting levels and modes of physical activity for the elderly were investigated in an explorative study as a pilot to refine the methodology and validate a self-designed life style questionnaire. The survey aimed at identifying habitual physical activity patterns, selected health profiles, individualized motivations and factors that impact on the needs for elderly citizens to participate in preferred physical activities within the South African context. This explorative study may inform the development of targeted programmes for elderly citizens. A purposive sample presented itself during an 'activity day' (Day of the Aged) offered by the University of Johannesburg, in which 620 senior citizens participated. Twenty researchers collected data through structured interviews from 192 participants at the event. The majority of men (n = 45, 24.4%) and women (n = 144, 75.1%) lived independently, whilst only 59 (30.6%) resided in an institution. Educational levels, the level of 'satisfactory' or 'good' health ratings and lifestyle issues should be considered for a health-enhancement programme design. Recommendations for methodological refinement are offered to enhance the comparability and in-depth statistical analysis of data.

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