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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2016, Article ID 1459597, 8 pages
Research Article

Experiences of Habitual Physical Activity in Maintaining Roles and Functioning among Older Adults: A Qualitative Study

1Department of Physiotherapy, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
2Department of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Professions, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, State of Palestine

Received 30 August 2016; Accepted 24 November 2016

Academic Editor: Jae-Young Lim

Copyright © 2016 Hadeel Halaweh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Physically active older adults have reduced risk of functional restrictions and role limitations. Several aspects may interrelate and influence habitual physical activity (PA). However, older adults’ own perspectives towards their PA need to be addressed. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of habitual physical activity in maintaining roles and functioning among older adult Palestinians ≥60 years. Data were collected through in-depth interviews based on a narrative approach. Seventeen participants were recruited (aged 64–84 years). Data were analyzed using a narrative interpretative method. Findings. Three central narratives were identified, “keep moving, stay healthy,”social connectedness, a motive to stay active,” and “adapting strategies to age-related changes.” Conclusion. Habitual physical activity was perceived as an important factor to maintain functioning and to preserve active roles in older adults. Walking was the most prominent pattern of physical activity and it was viewed as a vital tool to maintain functioning among the older adults. Social connectedness was considered as a contributing factor to the status of staying active. To adapt the process of age-related changes in a context to stay active, the participants have used different adapting strategies, including protective strategy, awareness of own capabilities, and modifying or adopting new roles.