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Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Motives for participating in international-level masters athletics

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author K. Bradley - Waikato Institute of Technology, New Zealand
  • G.S. Kolt - Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
  • M. Williams - Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa068

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Veröffentlicht: 18. Dezember 2006

© 2006 Bradley et al.
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While participation in organised masters sport is growing, research into motives for participation is limited. Most of the participation motivation research on older adults has focused on physical activity and exercise rather than competitive sport per se. These studies have typically found that older adults participate for reasons related to health, improving fitness, enjoyment of the activity, and social experiences. This exploratory study was carried out to identify the participation motives of track and field competitors at the 2002 World Masters Games.


A field survey approach was used to collect data. Participants were 304 adults (186 male, 110 female indicated gender) ranging in age from 31-88 years (M=53.6, SD=12.0), who had been competing in masters track and field for a mean of 8.6 (SD=8.7) years. Subjects completed the Participation Motivation Questionnaire for Older Adults (PMQOA).


The most highly ranked motives for participation were fitness, keeping healthy, challenge, competition, fun, and excitement. Factor analysis of the PMQOA showed 6 factors: Recognition, Social, Fitness, Medical, Competition/Challenge, and Involvement, similar to that of physical activity studies in older adults. Profile analyses identified significant differences in reasons for participation based on age and training volume leading up to the World Masters Games. Specifically, recognition was more important for those aged 30-54 than for the 55-64 age group (p=0.03). Those 55-64 and 65+ exhibited significantly higher Social than Involvement scores (p< 0.05). Competitors training more than eight hours per week had significantly higher scale ratings across all 6 factors than those who trained less than five hours per week.


The health benefits of vigorous physical activity for people of all ages are well documented. This study identified the importance placed on competition, challenge, and recognition by masters athletes. These findings highlight the need for access to coaching, training facilities, medical support, and inclusion with non-masters competition, in order to foster interest and participation. Event organisers should also be aware of the social importance of masters sport and consider this aspect when arranging competition schedules.