Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

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Sport Participation and Positive Development in Older Persons

As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

Baker, J., Fraser-Thomas, J., Dionigi, R. A., & Horton, S. (January 01, 2010). Sport participation and positive development in older persons. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 7, 1, 3-12.

I chose this article because in our degree most of our time is spent wondering how to ready our youth for life and almost none of it is dedicated towards our elderly population. As our population grows older we must turn our attention towards helping them too, as they are equally important.

This article calls for more research to be done surrounding older persons and the benefits they receive from recreation and sport. The article looks at the models developed for youth and tries to see if they could be modified to fit the needs of older persons. The authors look at the 5 C’s and external and internal assets. They then break down  what sport develops in the older participants. To do this they look at Master athletes and the reasons why they participate. The two key reasons are “I’m out here and I can do this” and “Use it or lose it”.  They touch on the burn out rates and how athletes that think “Use it or lose it” have a higher burn out rate. It then goes into limitations of current knowledge and suggest directions for future research.


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Seniors and Physical Activity

As of 2012, about 21% of Canadians were over the age of 60. By 2030, it is projected to rise to 28.5% and by 2050, it will exceed 31%. This means that by mid-century, approximately a third of Canadians will be over the age of 60. In ten years time, there will be over one billion seniors worldwide. Soon seniors will outnumber the amount of children under the age of 15. This is also not solely a First and Second world issue. In over three decades, Africa will be home to 10% of the world’s seniors.

Seniors have much to offer the young of today. They are full of knowledge and wisdom that could transfer to further the development of today’s youth. Therefore we need to ensure that they are properly taken care of for the remainder of their years through physical activity and socialization.

Healthy seniors

Physical activity is key for seniors. Due to their ageing physical bodies, they have a greater likelihood for cardiovascular diseases, as well as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. Along with the physical deterioration, there are also the issues they face when it comes to mental health. Seniors are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, and loneliness. With the typical stresses of everyday life, seniors also may lose their ability to live independently because they may suffered from limited mobility, chronic pain, frailty, along with other physical problems. Seniors also experience events such as bereavement, a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement, or a disability. All of these can result in isolation, loss of independence, loneliness and psychological distress.

Socialization is also an important part of keeping seniors healthy and well. Socializing is a good way to ensure that loneliness is “kept at bay”. This also helps to alleviate feelings such as depression and anxiety. Making sure they have a class that they get involved in or making sure they get outside and go for a walk will be key to keeping seniors well.

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