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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding connections between older men's masculinities and physical activity Thandi, Manpreet Kaur Gill


One of the most significant factors influencing the health of older men is their engagement in physical activity. Although the benefits of physical activity are well-established, inactivity tends to increase with aging, with men being at a significant risk of sedentary behaviour. Aging men may face significant pressures to embody dominant masculine ideals, affecting their motivations and experiences with physical activity. The purpose of this qualitative study was to enhance understanding of older men’s contextualized experiences with physical activity in their day-to-day lives, with an emphasis on the influence of masculinities on these experiences. These experiences were situated within socioecological and masculinities frameworks to assist healthcare providers develop health promotion interventions that are specific to older men, facilitating healthy aging and enhancing quality of life in this subpopulation. Four older men, over the age of 65, participated in in-depth data collection methods including an initial sit-down interview, three walk-along sessions, and photovoice, resulting in 2.17 hours of video, 10.17 hours of audio, and 54 pictures across the four men. An interpretive descriptive approach to data analysis was used to identify key areas of the men’s personal experiences with physical activity. Data analysis resulted in three key themes: Aging Male Bodies, Out in the Community, and Social Connectedness and Physical Activity. Findings from this study add to the growing knowledge around connections between older men, physical activity, and masculinities. Understanding the intersections between these factors will enhance understanding of older men’s experiences with physical activity in the context of their day-to-day lives, and assist healthcare providers develop health promotion programs targeted to the unique needs of older men.

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