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Exploring the motivations and experiences of middle and older aged adult rock climbers: SSHRC grant funding proposal

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Lifelong adherence and attachment to physical activity, recreation, and leisure among older adults is an evolving topic; however, very little research has been conducted on older adults engaged in what is termed ‘serious leisure activity.’ One growing type of serious leisure activity is rock climbing. The aim of this Capstone Project is to develop a mock SSHRC grant funding proposal (Insight Development), which is established from a background review of literature and a small exploratory pilot project. The research grant proposes to compare and contrast the experiences and motivations of middle and older aged (50+) rock climbers with a matched sample of aquatic fitness participants. The data collected as part of the preliminary qualitative-based Pilot Project were analyzed using a thematic analysis. Four major themes were identified and incorporated into the mock grant proposal: continued and increased participation; unique lifestyle characteristics; experiential and intrinsic rewards; and camaraderie and social context. The findings point to strong activity attachment, social network effects, and suggests that meaningful modes of physical activity encourage lifelong, engaged participation.
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