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Am J Mens Health. 2018 Nov;12(6):2173-2182. doi: 10.1177/1557988318802691.

"The Social Side Is as Important as the Physical Side": Older Men's Experiences of Physical Activity.

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1 Center for Hip Health and Mobility, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
2 Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
3 Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada.


North American "hegemonic masculinity" values strength, autonomy, independence, and resilience among its ideals. As men age, their capacity is increasingly challenged and demands that they adapt to new physical and social realities. Although some reports on effective health-promoting programs for men are emerging, there is a need to better understand older men's experiences with their mobility and physical activity. This is a photovoice study with men ( N = 14) who were enrolled in a choice-based activity program for low active men. Based on in-depth interviews and analysis of over 800 photographs, three key themes emerged: the importance of social connectedness, supportive environments, and positive attitude toward the future. Findings are presented via a theoretical view of masculinities as socially constructed through relational behaviors and norms. Analyses provide insight into older men's motivation to be physically active and highlight the need for programs and policies customized to promote physical activity of older men.


aging; health promotion; hegemonic masculinity; mobility; photovoice; physical activity

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