What moves you?: adoption and maintenance of physical activity among midlife and older African American women
Middle-aged and older African American women report the lowest rates of physical activity compared to men, younger women, and similarly aged White women, as well as higher death rates from conditions associated with physical inactivity. Though inactivity among African American women has received increased attention since the early 1990s, research regarding how older African American women successfully increase and maintain their physical activity levels is lacking. The current study aimed to identify factors associated with successful adoption and maintenance of physical activity among active midlife and older African American women. The study also assessed the applicability of the Physical Activity Evolution model as an explanatory framework for physical activity development among this population. Open-ended individual interviews were conducted with 15 African American women aged 45 years and older who reported engagement in physical activity at nationally recommended levels for 6 months or more. Data from the interviews were analyzed using deductive qualitative analysis methods. Results suggest that using scheduling strategies, receiving support from others, and experiencing noticeable benefits of physical activity are key factors in older African American women's progression toward a physically active lifestyle. These findings were consistent with the Physical Activity Evolution model.