There are three purposes for this study: (1) To characterize seniors' leisure activities in terms of the physically active leisure index using the METs values, (2) To examine to what extent and in what ways three types of physical activity: leisure-time physical activity, household physical activity and occupational physical activity, are related to nine health dimensions: health perception, physical functioning, mental health, vitality, role functioning, pain, social functioning, number of doctor visits and obesity, and (3) To compare the physically active leisure index with the PASE scale in terms of explaining variance in older adults' health. This study utilizes secondary data analysis from a study entitled--- The Relation of Local Government Recreation and Park Services to the Health of Older Adults. The subjects were from Peoria, IL, San Diego, CA, Arlington, VA, Houston, TX, and Minneapolis, MN. The sample was predominately white and the majority of them were female with a mean age of 67. Half of the subjects were married and the sample had a diverse education level. Content analysis, one-way ANOVA, bivariate correlation, and multiple regression analyses were conducted to fulfill study objectives. Study findings highlight the greater importance of leisure-time physical activity than household or occupational physical activity in predicting older adults' health. The content analysis from the open-ended leisure activities revealed that many older adults' leisure activities remain sedentary. Gender, ethnicity, and geographical location were significantly related to subjects' physically active leisure index. However, age, marital status, and education were not significantly related. Although the physically active leisure index developed from this study did not explain as much variance in the health outcomes as the PASE scale, it was a pilot test of a method which was intended to incorporate quantative measures of physically active leisure in the field of leisure studies. These results should be considered in light of the study's limitations. Results demonstrated that physically active leisure was a better predictor of older adults' health compared to other forms of physical activity and conclude that policy planning should concentrate on providing recreation and leisure opportunities to promote healthy active living for seniors. Moreover, leisure studies scholars should continue to collaborate with other disciplines and professionals to provide and examine the empirical evidence pertaining to leisure and its impact on advancing active lifestyles for older adults.
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