Exercise attitudes and behaviours among retired female collegiate athletes


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Abstract

Objectives:The present study explored exercise attitudes and behaviours among retired female collegiate athletes.Design:A survey design incorporating both closed and open-ended questions was adopted.Method:A total of 218 former NCAA Division I female athletes (n = 144 gymnastics; n = 74 swimming/diving) provided details on their current exercise behaviours and their thoughts regarding exercise since retiring from collegiate sport.Results:No relations were found between years since retirement and athletes’ current exercise frequency, types of exercise activities, and reasons for exercising. Despite reporting activity levels consistent with recommendations (5 days/week, 1 h per session), retired athletes remained dissatisfied with their activity levels and struggled to integrate exercise alongside occupational, academic and social demands.Conclusions:Athletes may require support in adapting to an independent and less intense exercise regime on retirement. Future research may look to explore exercise attitudes and behaviours among retired athletes from a longitudinal perspective.HighlightsExercise motives and behaviours were not related to length of time since retirement.Retired female athletes reported exercising in line with physical activity guidelines.Athletes reported lacking intrinsic motivation to exercise in retirement.Athletes remained dissatisfied with their activity levels, body shape and weight.Athletes may require support in accepting and adapting their exercise on retirement.

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