Measures for Enhancing Participation in Physical Exercise and Sports by the Elderly in Eldoret West District, Kenya
Nambaka, J. E.
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Physical activity is beneficial for the physical and mental health of the elderly by helping to prevent occurrence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, falls, cognitive decline, dementia, and depression. However, information on the participation of elderly in exercise in Kenya is lacking. This study sought to explore measures for enhancing participation in exercise and sports by the elderly in Eldoret West district. The study utilized cross-sectional survey research design. Data were collected among the elderly people aged 50 years and above in Eldoret West district. The instruments of data collection were interviews, questionnaires and focused group discussions. The sample size selected for the study was 260 elderly from an estimated population of 2600 in Eldoret West district. These respondents were sampled through snowballing techniques. The data collected were analyzed by descriptive statistics employing frequency distributions, chi –square tests and correlation analysis using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 16.0). The elderly agreed that their main reasons for engaging in exercises were: presence of finance to pay, encouragements from the family members, and high levels of education among other things. It was further established that the elderly engaged in exercises to become alert, to increase confidence, to maintain health and as a way of passing time. Finally, it was established that the elders lacked time, money; space among other things that should be availed to enhance participation in exercises. They however agreed that they need to be provided with opportunities and facilities and moral support for them to participate in exercises. This study demonstrated that measures for enhancing participation in exercise and sports among the elderly in Kenya seem inadequate and ineffective, perhaps leading to low participation in exercises. It is thus recommended that local authorities, in collaboration with the ministry of Youth and Sports, take up responsibility for the funding and designing of the exercises for elderly people in Kenya as well as providing the adequate facilities and equipment for their successful implementation