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How older adults perceive, experience, and adapt to the physical realities of growing older

February 16, 2023 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Dr. Erica Bennett, Assistant Professor in Health, Culture, and Inclusion in the UBC School of Kinesiology presents How older adults perceive, experience, and adapt to the physical realities of growing older.

This guest lecture is presented by the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management and open to the entire UBC Okanagan community.


Whether it is the onset of chronic health concerns or changes to our appearances such as wrinkles, sagging skin, and weight anxieties, we are constantly negotiating our relationship with our bodies. It is well known that physical activity can play an important role in impacting how we perceive, experience, and adapt to these body changes as we grow older. However, experiences of physical (in)activity in later life are particularly complex as they are shaped and constrained by our social location and experienced within an ableist, fatphobic, and heterosexist western cultural milieu that emphasizes health, physical fitness, and youthful (hetero)femininity and masculinity as markers of successful aging.

In this presentation, Dr. Bennett draws on a body of qualitative research with older women, men, and queer adults to highlight the complexities of physical (in)activity and sociocultural body norms in shaping the psychological adaptation to age-related changes to appearance, body function, and health. Highlighting the diversity in later life experiences, the role of gender, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, and age in shaping these psychological processes will be examined. Practical implications for health care providers and physical activity programmers will be explored. Her hope is that this research will catalyze a shift in, and advancing of, multiple ‘ways of knowing’ in the study of physical activity for health, and that its dissemination will foster more inclusive body and physical activity-related practices that attend to the diverse experiences of older adults.


Dr. Erica Bennett (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in Health, Culture, and Inclusion in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Her expertise is in the psychological, behavioural, and sociocultural factors shaping physical activity and health-related adaptational processes across the life course. Dr. Bennett’s research attends to the role of physical activity in shaping later life body image, the physical activity experiences of individuals living with chronic conditions and disabilities, as well as elite athlete stress, emotion and coping. Dr. Bennett also works in collaboration with members of the LGTBQ2S+ community, older adults, and sport sector participants and leaders to design and deliver inclusive physical activity, health, and wellbeing programming. She is involved in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives in sport sciences with the Canadian Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology (SCAPPS), and member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity’s (NASPSPA) EDI Task Force. Dr. Bennett’s research has been recognized and funded through SSHRC and Killam awards.

For more information, contact ccdpm.med@ubc.ca.


February 16, 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Reichwald Health Sciences Centre (RHS)
1088 Discovery Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Presentation, Talk/Lecture
Culture and Diversity, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Health
Faculty, Staff, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates