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AGEING AND GENDER: FUNCTIONALITY AND BODY’S PERCEPTIONS OF OLDER WOMEN SUBMITTED TO AN EXERCISE PROGRAM

 

ABSTRACT

 

This study reports data from quantitative and qualitative research methods that aimed to provide more valuable contributions to explain the impact of exercise on older women’s physical fitness and on their bodies’ perceptions. Nineteen Portuguese older women (mean age 69.5 ± 5.3years) were submitted to a multi-component exercise program for 10 months. The Senior Fitness Test was used to assess physical fitness and the habitual physical activity was assessed using accelerometers. In order to assess the bodies perceived by the older women, semi-structured interviews were made in different moments. The results indicated that after the completion of the program, even without significant effects on objective data, corporeal benefits are perceived and externalised, giving to older women new meanings to old age. The findings suggest that the impact of exercise program on their bodies’ perceptions seems to be crucial to improve health and social status and consequently their quality of life.

 

KEY WORDS

 

physical activity, gender, older women, body’s perceptions, qualitative.

 

 
Journal of Sport and Health Research - 2009