Title

Older Black Women’s Experiences Initiating and Maintaining Physical Activity: Implications for Theory and Practice

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2013

Program

Exercise Science

Abstract

Using a semi-structured discussion guide, 15 interviews were conducted with physically active, older, Black women living in the Eastern U.S. to examine what contributed to participants’ physical activity initiation and maintenance. Thematic analysis organized content. Constant comparison methods compared themes between participants. Participants initiated physical activity when a cue to action, such as weight gain or a medical issue, triggered a perceived need to exercise. When participants initiated physical activity, they experienced immediate unexpected benefits, such as improved energy. Participants reported continuing activity because of these initial benefits. After continued physical activity over time, participants experienced the health benefits they originally hoped to achieve. Most participants also mentioned continuing physical activity because it is “me time.” All participants reported needing to modify their physical activity routine at some point. Having a regular, yet adaptable, routine and planning skills helped participants maintain physical activity. These findings contribute to the refinement of theory, and might be useful for professionals promoting physical activity among older Black women.

Comments

In Press.