The Role of Gender and Social Class in Physical Activity in Later Life

  • Tamar Z. Semerjian
Chapter

Abstract

Gender and social class matter when considering physical activity among older people. However, sport and exercise sociologists have devoted scant attention to this topic. That said, there is no lack of attention to this question from those who are interested in health, physical activity, and epidemiologists who recognise that exercise can be an important way to maintain both the psychological and physical health of all, particularly as we age. This chapter will summarise the available research regarding the role of gender and social class, the role that media plays in shaping perceptions of ageing, and provide some recommendations for future research.

References

  1. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnett, I., van Sluijs, E. M. F., & Ogilvie, D. (2012). Physical activity and transitioning to retirement: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 43, 329–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bauman, A. E., Reis, R. S., Sallis, J. F., Wells, J. C., Loos, R. J. F., & Martin, B. W. (2012). Correlates of physical activity: Why are some people physically active and others are not? The Lancet, 380, 258–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bøen, H. (2012). Characteristics of senior centre users – And the impact of a group programme on social support and late-life depression. Norsk Epidemiologi, 22(2), 261–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bracy, N. L., Millstein, R. A., Carlson, J. A., Conway, T. L., Sallis, J. F., Saelens, B. E., et al. (2014). Is the relationship between the built environment and physical activity moderated by perceptions of crime and safety? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 11(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-11-24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, A., & Knight, T. (2015). Shifts in media images of women appearance and social status from 1960 to 2010: A content analysis of beauty advertisements in two Australian magazines. Journal of Aging Studies, 35, 74–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carlson, J. A., Sallis, J. F., Conway, T. L., Saelens, B. E., Frank, L. D., Kerr, J., et al. (2012). Interactions between psychosocial and built environment factors in explaining older adults’ physical activity. Preventive Medicine: An International Journal Devoted to Practice and Theory, 54(1), 68–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.10.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, C. (2015). Advertising representations of older people in the United Kingdom and Taiwan: A comparative analysis. The International Journal of Aging, 80, 140–183.Google Scholar
  9. Ҫırak, Y., Yılmaz Yelvar, G. D., Parlak Demir, Y., Dalkınlınҫ, M., Mustafa, K., & Tağıl, S. M. (2015). Age-and sex-related differences in physical fitness and physical activity levels of the physically independent community-dwelling older adults. Turkish Journal of Geriatrics, 18, 273–279.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, D. O. (1999). Identifying psychological, physiological, and environmental barriers and facilitators to exercise among older low income adults. Journal of Clinical Geropsychology, 5(1), 51–62. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022942913555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deeg, D. J. H., Haga, H., Yasumura, S., Suzuki, T., Shichita, K., & Shibata, H. (1992). Predictors of a 10-year change in physical, cognitive and social function in Japanese elderly. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 15, 163–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dogra, S., Al-Sahab, B., Manson, J., & Tamim, H. (2015). Aging expectations are associated with physical activity and health among older adults of low socioeconomic status. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity, 23, 180–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dye, C. J., Williams, J. E., Kemper, K. A., McGuire, F. A., & Aybar-Damali, B. (2012). Impacting mediators of change for physical activity among elderly food stamp recipients. Educational Gerontology, 38, 788–798. https://doi.org/10.1080/03601277.2011.645444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gray, P. M., Murphy, M. H., Gallagher, A. M., & Simpson, E. E. A. (2016). Motives and barriers to physical activity among older adults of different socioeconomic status. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity, 24, 419–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hammerback, K., Felias-Christensen, G., & Phelan, E. A. (2012). Evaluation of a telephone-based physical activity promotion program for disadvantaged older adults. Preventing Chronic Disease, 9, E62–E62.Google Scholar
  17. Hankonen, N., Absetz, P., Ghisletta, P., Renner, B., & Uutela, A. (2010). Gender differences in social cognitive determinants of exercise adoption. Psychology and Health, 25, 55–69. https://doi.org/10.1080/08870440902736972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hansen, Å. M., Andersen, L. L., Skotte, J., Christensen, U., Mortensen, O. S., Molbo, D., et al. (2014). Social class differences in physical functions in middle-aged men and women. Journal of Aging & Health, 26(1), 88–105. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898264313508188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hemingway, H., Stafford, M., Stansfeld, S., Shipley, M., & Marmot, M. (1997). Is the SF-36 a valid measure of change in populations heath? Results from the Whitehall II study. British Medical Journal, 315, 1273–1279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Higgs, P., & Gilleard, C. (2015). Fitness and consumerism in later life. In E. Tulle & C. Phoenix (Eds.), Physical activity in sport in later life (pp. 32–42). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jermyn, D. (2016). Pretty past it? Interrogating the post-feminist makeover of ageing, style and fashion. Feminist Media Studies, 16, 573–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones, S. A., Moore, L. V., Moore, K., Zagorski, M., Brines, S. J., Diez Roux, A. V., et al. (2015). Disparities in physical activity resource availability in six US regions. Preventive Medicine, 78, 17–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.05.028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kaplan, M. S., Newsom, J. T., McFarland, B. H., & Lu, L. (2001). Demographic and psychosocial correlates of physical activity in late life. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 21(4), 306–312. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(01)00364-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. King, A. C., Sallis, J. F., Frank, L. D., Saelens, B. E., Cain, K., Conway, T. L., Chapman, J. E., Ahn, D. K., & Kerr, J. (2011). Aging in neighborhoods differing in walkability and income: Associations with physical activity and obesity in older adults. Social Science & Medicine, 73, 1525–1533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lee, Y. (2005). Gender differences in physical activity and walking among older adults. Journal of Women & Aging, 17, 55–70. https://doi.org/10.1300/J074v17n01_05.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lee, Y., & Levy, S. S. (2011). Gender and income associations in physical activity and blood pressure among older adults. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 8(1), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Manson, J., Ritvo, P., Ardern, C., Weir, P., Baker, J., Jamnik, V., et al. (2013). Tai chi’s effects on health-related fitness of low-income older adults. Canadian Journal on Aging, 32(3), 270–277. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0714980813000305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. O’Brien Cousins, S. (1997). Elderly tomboys? Sources of self-efficacy for physical activity in late life. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity, 5, 229–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Plow, M. A., Allen, S. M., & Resnik, L. (2011). Correlates of physical activity among low-income older adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 30(5), 629–642. https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464810375685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rautio, N., Heikkinen, E., & Ebrahim, S. (2005). Socioeconomic position and its relationship to physical capacity among elderly people living in Jyväskylä, Finland: Five- and ten-year follow-up studies. Social Science & Medicine, 60, 2405–2416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socsimed.2004.11.029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Robinson, T. E. (1998). Portraying older people in advertising. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  32. Sparkes, A. C. (2015). Ageing and embodied masculinities in physical activity settings: From flesh to theory and back again. In E. Tulle & C. Phoenix (Eds.), Physical activity in sport in later life (pp. 137–148). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tischer, U., Hartmann-Tews, I., & Combrink, C. (2011). Sport participation of the elderly-the role of gender, age, and social class. European Reviews of Aging & Physical Activity, 8(2), 83–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Toto, P. E., Raina, K. D., Holm, M. B., Schlenk, E. A., Rubinstein, E. N., & Rogers, J. C. (2012). Outcomes of a multicomponent physical activity program for sedentary, community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity, 20(3), 363–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Trost, S. G., Owen, N., Bauman, A. E., Sallis, J. F., & Brown, W. (2002). Correlates of adults’ participation in physical activity: Review and update. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34(12), 1996–2001. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200212000-00020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tulle, E. (2008). Acting your age? Sports science and the aging body. Journal of Aging Studies, 22, 340–347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2008.05.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tulle, E., & Dorrer, N. (2012). Back from the brink: Ageing, exercise and health in a small gym. Ageing & Society, 32(7), 1106–1127. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X11000742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tulle, E., & Krekula, C. (2013). Ageing embodiment and the search for social change. International Journal of Ageing & Later Life, 8(1), 7–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Van Cauwenberg, J., Van Holle, V., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Van Dyck, D., & Deforche, B. (2016). Neighborhood walkability and health outcomes among older adults: The mediating role of physical activity. Health & Place, 37, 16–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.11.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Van Holle, V., Van Cauwenberg, J., Van Dyck, D., Deforche, B., Van de Weghe, N., & De Bourdeaudhuij, I. (2014). Relationship between neighborhood walkability and older adults’ physical activity: Results from the Belgian environmental physical activity study in seniors (BEPAS seniors). International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 11, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-014-0110-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vincent, J. A., Tulle, E., & Bond, J. (2008). The anti-ageing enterprise: Science, knowledge, expertise, rhetoric and values. Journal of Aging Studies, 22(4), 291–294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2008.05.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. White, M. N., King, A. C., Sallis, J. F., Frank, L. D., Saelens, B. E., Conway, T. L., et al. (2016). Caregiving, transport-related, and demographic correlates of sedentary behavior in older adults: The senior neighborhood quality of life study. Journal of Aging and Health, 28(5), 812–833. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898264315611668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang, Y. B., Harwood, J., Williams, A., Ylänne-McEwen, V., Wadleigh, P. M., & Thimm, C. (2006). The portrayal of older adults in advertising: A cross-national review. Journal of Language & Social Psychology, 25, 264–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamar Z. Semerjian
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologySan José State UniversitySan JoseUSA

Personalised recommendations