Physical Activity Facilitators and Barriers Among Retired Women in North Carolina: A qualitative study

Jennifer Leeman, Kelly R. Evenson, Sydney A. Jones
BACKGROUND Women are less likely than men to be physically active and more likely to reduce their physical activity as they age. The objective of this research was to understand barriers that might prevent North Carolina women from being physically active after retirement as well as aspects of retirement that might facilitate a more physically active lifestyle to inform intervention strategies applicable to retired women. METHOD Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 recently retired
more » ... women living in North Carolina. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Content analysis was used to identify themes related to barriers and facilitators of physical activity after retirement. RESULTS Six themes were identified. One theme was the development of leisure-time physical activity habits over the lifespan. Five other themes described how physical activity after retirement was influenced by prior occupational physical activity, concurrent life transitions (e.g., becoming a caregiver), health, social support, and the community environment. LIMITATIONS Women in this study were active participants in community organizations, which might make their experiences unique from those of women who are not engaged with their communities. However, similarities in themes in this and other qualitative studies corroborate the broader transferability of findings. CONCLUSION Interventions to promote physical activity among retired North Carolina women should consider emphasizing health benefits of physical activity and improving walking environments and access to physical activity facilities. Local residents should be involved in intervention design to address unique barriers among women who retire from physically demanding jobs or become caregivers.
doi:10.17615/n09c-dk80 fatcat:al453ooyxfeg5hszk5xmczyubq