Anya  Low

How Ageism Affects Physical Activity

This thesis was conducted in Zürich and focuses on the relationship senior women have with physical activity and how ageism plays a role.


Sensing the system

Ageism is not a common topic to talk about, and it is often left unrecognized and hidden in social interactions and behaviors. Ageism occurs through stereotyping and posing prejudices against an age group. During my thesis, it became apparent how often ageism occurs when the senior women I interviewed conducted sports and therefore leads some senior women to seem unnormal for doing so much sport or conducting too much physical activity.



For intervention criteria, it became apparent how strongly one’s social network influences your well being at an older age. The prejudices and stereotypes of different age groups needed to be addressed. Since being a victim of ageism is a personal experience, it should be talked about and shared in a private setting. As a strategy to recognize ageism and how it affects one personally, I have developed a multigenerational toolkit that aims to open conversations about ageism and aims to facilitate reflection.



This toolkit consists of cards, in which each has a small activity or discussion topic, which should be done individually and with the other participant. By going through the toolkit, a reflection on ageist behaviors occurred whilst getting to know the other person better. The toolkit was used by two people from two different generations, which resulted in an interesting way to address the topic of ageism. From both sides, it broadened understanding and surprised both participants.

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