Physical Activity and the Retirement Transition: "every time I do some physical exercise, I've got something in the bank against getting older or being ill"

Kathleen Lane (Lead Author), Julii Brainard, Rachel Cooke, Charlotte Salter

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


The retirement transition represents a significant change in the life-course, including the impact on engaging in physical activity (Barnett et al. 2012). It can be a time when opportunities may arise to increase or develop new interests in participating in physical activity (PA). By contrast, the retirement transition may also trigger a decrease in PA engagement, owing to circumstances that often include health, finance or caring responsibilities.
This paper discusses barriers and facilitators to engaging in physical activity expressed in the qualitative arm of the Physical Activity and Retirement Transition study (PARTs), funded by Sport England. PARTs was a mixed-methods study conducted in eastern England among adults aged c.55-c.70 during their retirement transition or immediately after their retirement.
Findings from five focus groups and nine interviews (involving 39 adults) indicated that PA is experienced in numerous ways and with varying interest, commitment and satisfaction, reflecting how participants considered their PA choices in the context of their well-being and personal constraints. The circumstance of getting older served as a direct motivator for several participants. Ageing also emerged as an indirect facilitator to interacting with PA as participants revealed intimate aspects of their lives and what was meaningful to them. The highly diverse range of enablers and challenges to PA offers new insights into adults’ engagement with PA across the retirement transition.
Barnett, I., van Sluijs, E. and Ogilvie, D. (2012) Physical Activity and Transitioning to Retirement. A Systematic Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 43(3): 329-336.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
EventBritish Society of Gerontology Annual Conference - Online meeting hosted by BSG in Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jul 20203 Jul 2020


ConferenceBritish Society of Gerontology Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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