Date: 14th Oct 2016
A new book to raise awareness of ways to healthy ageing has been published by Dr Barbara Humberstone, Professor of Sociology of Sport and Outdoor Education, and Dr Maria Konstantaki, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition.
‘Ageing, Physical Activity, Recreation and Wellbeing’ features a collection of studies which focus on the effectiveness of different forms of, and approaches to, physical activity, exercise and recreation that promote an active lifestyle among communities and older people in general.
The overarching theme is the importance of identifying how people can stay healthy and enjoy life as they age.
Dr Humberstone’s research interests include physical activity and ageing healthily, nature-based sport and the senses, wellbeing, and outdoor pedagogies. Her long-term, grounding concern is the interconnections in embodiment and social and environmental action/justice.
Dr Humberstone said: "The book imparts knowledge about recent advances in physical activity, recreation and wellbeing initiatives that will benefit the academic community and the wider public. We also set out to dispel myths around ageing and physical activity showing how many older people enjoy and find pleasure in taking part in physical exercise and adventurous activities."
The book’s chapters draw upon qualitative and quantitative methodologies that have ‘active ageing’ at the core of their investigations. Examples are drawn from the global and local perspective and include walking initiatives, an inter-generational dance project, Movers & Shakers exercise intervention studies, windsurfing and other case studies.
Movers & Shakers is a local community initiative where BME groups and others meet regularly to eat together and to take part in a variety of physical activities such as Tai Chi and Zumba Gold. A number of chapters show how this initiative promotes and maintains mental and physical wellbeing amongst the participants.
Bucks academics including Dr Ray Batchelor, Dr Anne Chappell, Dr Alan Hockley, Dr Jonathan Lewis, Dr Fiona McCormack, Melanie Parris, Jay Patel, Sue Stuart and Dr Elaine Welsh contributed chapters to the book.
International academic Dr Professor Carol Riddick and Bucks County Council Community Development Lead Olga McBarnett also contributed a chapter to the book. The book is dedicated to the memory of Armintha Walcott, one of the founding members of Movers and Shakers, the award winning initiative for engaging older people in physical and social activities.
Dr Konstantaki has worked with a range of individuals and groups including athletes, recreational exercisers and physically active older people, offering physiological testing support and nutritional advice. Her primary research interests include physical activity and ageing, physiology of swimming, and nutritional supplements.
As Dr Konstantaki explains: ‘Our book links academic perspectives with practical strategies for diverse members of the community, in particular older people, to explore ways to stay fitter and healthier in older age. We also present different intervention strategies and approaches that aim to improve older peoples’ lives and develop an understanding of active and healthy ageing.’
Dr Konstantaki has previously also called on authorities to tackle social isolation and provide meaning in older people's lives to tackle the challenges of an ageing population.
Bucks New University itself additionally annually hosts the annual Ageing and Wellbeing Conference, organised with Bucks County Council and Movers & Shakers, which works with older people. It features lectures and presentations delivered by an international team of academics specialising in health and wellbeing, gerontology, physical activity, and leisure.
‘Ageing, Physical Activity, Recreation and Wellbeing’ can be purchased here.
Picture caption 1: Dr Konstantaki and Dr Humberstone with a copy of Ageing, Physical Activity, Recreation and Wellbeing.
Picture caption 2: A showcase of Movers & Shakers at the Ageing and Wellbeing Conference at Bucks New University.
Picture caption 3: Dr Konstantaki and Dr Humberstone (front centre) with contributors to Ageing, Physical Activity, Recreation and Wellbeing from Bucks New University.