Sports and Aging


Sports and Aging

A Prescription for Longevity

Edited and with an introduction by Gerald R. Gems

324 pages
6 photographs, 1 appendix, index


June 2022


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June 2022


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June 2022


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June 2022


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About the Book

2023 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

In Sports and Aging a wide-ranging group of physically active people, including many scholar-athletes, fifty years and older, discuss sports in the context of aging and their own athletic experiences. This collection of personal accounts includes a spectrum of contributors across genders, social classes, and racial, ethnic, national, religious, and educational backgrounds to determine whether there are any common characteristics that can promote long, happy, healthy, and meaningful lifespans.

In this fresh look at the role of sports in the process of aging, contributors range from a ninety-six-year-old great-grandmother to a former Olympian. Many contributors have used education to better their lot in life or to find solace and meaning in the service of others. For all, sports or physical activity has enhanced their health and temperament and provided a sense of community.

Author Bio

Gerald R. Gems is a professor emeritus of kinesiology at North Central College. He is the author and editor of several books, including Before Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sporting Pioneers (Nebraska, 2017) and The Athletic Crusade: Sport and American Cultural Imperialism (Nebraska, 2012).


Sports and Aging includes inspiring narratives from a wide variety of individuals and a vast array of cultures and different ages to explore the way people who exercise regularly have embraced a healthy lifestyle and found meaning through exercise and in their communities. These essays are thoughtful and reflective accounts of the lived experience of aging practitioners of sport and physical activity. . . . [This book] will inspire others to join communities of movement, exercise, and fitness in a time when health and the communal are becoming increasingly important.”—Susan J. Bandy, professor in the Sport and Humanities Program at Ohio State University

“Focusing on the lives of people from different ethnic groups, cultures, religions, and ages, this book is an important contribution to aging studies, which often lack such an intercultural and intersectional approach. . . . The fourteen stories of individuals show that there is neither one way of aging nor one way how one should age, and that the importance of physical activity and sport is different for each person throughout their life.”—Annette R. Hofmann, professor at the Ludwigsburg University of Education and president of the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport

Table of Contents

Gerald R. Gems
1. A History of Aging
Gerald R. Gems
2. Life with a Purpose
Frances Gems
3. Looking Back
Tony Kaleth
4. It Was Not Easy!
Maha Ebeid
5. My Life of Physical Activity and Fitness
James R. Coates Jr.
6. Aging, Antiaging, and Infinite Youth in Taiwan
Chia-Ju Yen
7. A Matter of Perspective
Samuel O. Regalado
8. Dance until the Music Stops
Tansin Benn
9. Carpe Diem
Luciane Lauffer
10. Aging as an Adventure
M. Ann Hall
11. An Antiaging Sporting Life in an Aging Society
Kohei Kawashima
12. Going Strong
Gary Osmond
13. On a Meaningful Life with Sport as a Permanent Companion
Else Trangbæk
14. Making a Difference
Janice J. Crosswhite
15. Fit, Fun, Forever Young
Gertrud Pfister
Gerald R. Gems
Appendix: Aging Project Survey


2023 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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