Older Canadian Men's Perceptions and Experiences of Physical Activity
Our analysis of the data revealed three key meanings that the men attributed to physical activity: a) physical activity as health promotion; b) physical activity as a means of fighting aging and ageism; and c) physical activity as embodied masculinity. The majority of the men argued that they had a moral responsibility to engage in physical activity so as to promote their health and maintain their bodies. The men further suggested that physical activity was an important means of fighting the bodily realities of aging, including eventual future losses related to their health, independence, and functional abilities. In this way, the men asserted that physical activity enabled them to resist ageist stereotypes and the societal devaluation of older bodies. Finally, the men contended that physical activity enabled them to demonstrate their masculinity as they enacted idealized male characteristics such as strength, dominance, and sporting prowess. As such, the men expressed concern about how declines in their health might impact their abilities to be physically active in the future with concomitant threats to their sense of identity, well-being, and social currency.
We discuss our findings in relation to the extant theorizing and research pertaining to ageism, masculinity, and age relations.