Social supports and barriers for older adults not currently participating in group physical activity

Group physical activity can provide physical and social benefits; however, social barriers or a lack of social support may affect participation. This study examined social support needs and barriers among older adults who were not participating in group physical activities. Using interpretive description, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 older adults (M = 5 70.9 years; 81.6% women). Themes were grouped into two categories. Category one, expectations and initial impressions, consisted of: (1) groups cannot meet everyone's expectations or interests; (2) groups are intimidating to join; and (3) the need for inclusive programming. Category two, social processes within group physical activity, consisted of: (1) modelling physical activity behaviours; (2) sharing information and suggestions about physical activity opportunities; and (3) encouragement and genuine interest. Outreach to this population should aim to address these barriers and utilize these supportive behaviours to reduce feelings of intimidation and promote participation among older adults.
Aging age-friendly, exercise, healthy aging, social relationships
Morrison, L., McDonough, M. H., Hewson, J., Toohey, A., Din, C., & Kenny, S. J. (2023). Social Supports and Barriers for Older Adults Not Participating in Group Physical Activity. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology (published online ahead of print 2023). Retrieved Sep 11, 2023, from