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Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Older adults are likely to reduce their physical activity levels regardless of strong evidence that occupying an active lifestyle is strongly related to reduction in the risks of physical and psychological disease and to prolong independent living (Warburton et al., 2006; Welsh Assembly Government [WAG], 2009). This research study is informed by statements relating to the lack of qualitative research into continued participation throughout the adult lifespan was considered important as most nations are currently experiencing a shift in population demographics (Leeson, 2004). A triangulation method of research was conducted in order to collect data. It is suggested that this method enhances the reliability of data (Patton, 2002; Gray, 2009). Participants were invited to ‘tell their story’ relating to their motivation for participation in swimming and aquatic activities in individual interviews (n=10). In addition one hundred and five participants (aged 18-65) completed a revised questionnaire (Brodkin and Weiss, 1990). Through semi structured interviews in depth understandings of people’s motivations and experiences were explored and the questionnaire enabled easy identification of motivation trends from a larger sample (Ellis et al., 1997; Gratton and Jones, 2010). Drawing upon the data collected new perceptions of aging and physical activity were created: ‘Appreciating the aging process’, ‘Fulfilling what is missing’ and ‘Slowing down’, which related to the personalities and motivations of the participants who took part. The motivations which individuals seek to continue participating in sport into later life were linked to the new perceptions of aging themes and stress the importance of family and community cohesion in sport as a conclusion.
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