BOONE, N.C. — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and Appalachian State University will collaborate to collect online survey data on the sports and activity participation behaviors and interests of adults over the age of 50.
According to Dr. Stephanie West, professor in Appalachian’s Department of Recreation Management and Physical Education, this data will lead to evidence-based recommendations for how parks and recreation departments can best facilitate older adult participation in sports and physical activities.
West, who received $25,000 in funding from NRPA, will partner with Jill Naar, instructor in the Department of Recreation Management and Physical Education, for the project. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Institute for Health and Human Services is the administrator of the NRPA grant.
West said the results of the online NRPA survey will help identify the current sports behaviors and interests of 1,200 older adults, along with practices and policies of parks and recreation departments that might best encourage older adult participation in sports activities.
Additionally, West said the survey results will allow her and Naar to identify factors that motivate and/or restrain older adult participation in sports, which parks and recreation departments can then address and use to improve the practice of sports by older adults.
The survey will also help identify the negotiations older adults typically practice in order to be active, West said, such as looking for a community recreation center they can use, going to a park or walking on neighborhood sidewalks, especially if these adults do not have the funds to join a private health club.
“While parks and recreation practitioners might help older adults negotiate things like self-esteem or transportation, or even the self-esteem needed to use public transportation, some strategies for helping others negotiate constraints might not be cost-effective or practical for implementation on a larger scale,” West said.
She explained the results of this survey will, therefore, help inform parks and recreation best practices.
The grant project many involve assistance from Appalachian students.
About the Department of Recreation Management and Physical Education
The Department of Recreation Management and Physical Education in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences is an innovative, diverse and forward-thinking academic unit consisting of two undergraduate programs. The recreation management program prepares students for careers as professionals in three concentrations: commercial recreation and tourism management, outdoor experiential education, and recreation and park management. The health and physical education program prepares students for careers as K-12 health and physical educators, school-based activity directors and coaches. Learn more at https://rmpe.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry — Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers 10 undergraduate degree programs and six graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.