Authors: Karen Croteau1, Nina Eduljee1, Laurie Murphy1, Lisa Ahearn2, Stella L. Volpe3
1Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, 2Plymouth State University, 3Drexel University
Department of Sport and Exercise Science
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Standish, ME 04084
Karen Croteau is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
Nina Eduljee is Professor of Psychology at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
Laurie Murphy is Assistant Professor of Business at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
Lisa Ahearn is Assistant Professor of Business at Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH.
Stella Volpe is Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.
Health and Lifestyle Behaviors of U.S. Masters World Cup Field Hockey Players
The purpose of this study was to examine health and lifestyle behaviors of United States Masters field hockey athletes who competed in the Masters Field Hockey World Cup in 2018. A total of 122 athletes (72 women, 50 men) completed the 42-item Health and Well-being of Masters Field Hockey Athletes Survey. Mean age was 50.1±8.3 years (range = 35 to 71). Mean body mass index (BMI) was 24.9±3.1 kg/m2. Participants rated their health as very good/excellent (86.9%) and their stress as rare/not at all (56.6%), had no major health conditions (61.5%) or medication use (70.5%), and had at least one injury (53.3%). Participants consumed ≥2 fruits (68.9%) and ≥2 vegetables (83.6%) per day, daily breakfast (68.0%), ≤1 sugar-sweetened beverage (86.9%) and ≥7 cups of water (54.1%) per day, and ≤2 alcoholic beverages per week (59.8%). Participants reported ≥7 hours of sleep per night (65.5%), and no/little restless sleep (52.4%). Just under half of participants reported sitting ≥5 hours per day (46.7%). Exercise frequency at ≥3 days per week and ≥30 minutes per day was 95.9% and 98.4%, respectively, with jogging (68.0%) the most common mode. Well-being scores were high. Overall, Masters field hockey athletes are healthy and practice lifestyle behaviors conducive to positive health.
Key Words: Masters field hockey, health, lifestyle behaviors, well-being
Aging is inevitable, and with aging there is an associated decline in physical and mental capacities (39). However, much of the decline in function that is associated with aging can be attributed to lifestyle behaviors, including physical inactivity (22). Evidence supporting the physiological and psychological benefits of regular physical activity for adults is extensive and well known (5, 26). Despite this evidence, there is a steady decline in physical activity participation throughout adulthood, with middle-age and older adults being the least physically active groups in the general population (26, 33).
In terms of health and functionality, sedentary frail elderly occupy one end of the spectrum, while physically active, higher functioning older adults occupy the opposite end (32). Masters athletes are higher functioning middle-age and older adults who continue to train and compete in organized forms of individual and team sports (5). Compared to their sedentary counterparts, older endurance athletes have higher physiological functional capacity (aerobic and muscular fitness), lower body fat, and lower risk of medical comorbidities, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease (39). These benefits extend to all-cause mortality, and also include higher intrinsic motivation and improved quality of life (13, 32). In terms of neurocognition, Masters athletes have been shown to have greater verbal memory and faster processing times compared to non-athletes (39). Participation in Masters team sports has also been found to contribute to psychosocial outlook (32).
Improving well-being for all individuals in the United States (U.S.) is a goal of Healthy People 2020 (35). “Well-being is a relative state where one maximizes her or his physical, mental, and social functioning in the context of supportive environments to live a full, satisfying, and productive life” (20). Recent recommendations have called for more research into the measurement of optimal well-being, otherwise known as “flourishing” in the general population (16) and with Masters athletes (30).
Field hockey is an Olympic sport, played by both women and men, at recreational, professional, and Masters levels on five continents and in at least 137 countries (12). Masters competitions range from local and state, to national and international levels. In 2018, the United States sent five women’s and four men’s teams to the Masters World Cup, and one team to the Grand Masters World Cup.
There has been a recent marked increase in the number of Masters athletes in the U.S. and internationally (32). Much of the research on Masters athletes has focused on the physiological functioning and health of endurance athletes who participate in individual sports, with little research on team sport athletes, and no research on Masters field hockey athletes. There has also been little research on lifestyle behaviors, other than physical activity, in Masters athletes participating in team sports. Thus, the primary aim of this study was to examine the health status, lifestyle behaviors, and well-being in U.S. Masters field hockey athletes. This study is part of a larger study aimed at collecting and examining data over time and from international athletes.
Participants were members of the U.S. Masters field hockey teams competing in the 2018 Masters Field Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain. They were recruited through the U.S. Masters Field Hockey Facebook page, via email, at a U.S. Masters tournament just prior to the World Cup, and at the World Cup venue. Masters age group divisions (in years) competing for the U.S. were as follows: 35 and over, 40 and over, 45 and over, 50 and over, 55 and over, and 60 and over. Prior to data collection, approval for this study was obtained from the Institutional Review Board at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
The 42-item Health and Well-being of Masters Field Hockey Athletes Survey was developed for this study by the authors. After expert review for content and pilot testing for content, question clarity, and ease of use, the final survey was administered via Survey Monkey through the Internet and in-person via tablet. Informed consent was obtained prior to survey completion. Data collected included demographic, health status, and lifestyle behaviors, as well as field hockey participation and well-being data. Demographic data collected included age, sex, education, occupation, socioeconomic status, state/country of residence, and 2018 World Cup team membership (35 and over, 40 and over, 45 and over, 50 and over, 55 and over, and 60 and over).
Health status data included current illnesses, medications and injuries, perceived health, perceived stress, and body mass index (BMI). Perceived health was addressed with one question, “How would you rate your current health”, with possible answers of “excellent”, “very good”, “good”, “fair”, “poor”. For current illnesses, medications, and injuries, respondents were asked to select all that applied from a list. Perceived stress was a single item measure taken from the Occupational Stress Questionnaire, for which content, criterion, and construct validity has been established (10). Respondents answered the question, “Stress means a situation in which a person feels tense, restless, nervous or anxious or is unable to sleep at night because his/her mind is troubled all the time. How often do you feel this kind of stress these days? Rate on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much).” Body mass index (BMI) was determined through self-reported height and body weight.
Lifestyle variables in the following areas were addressed: dietary behaviors, use of tobacco products, alcohol consumption, sleep, sitting time, and physical activity. Dietary behaviors included daily fruit, vegetable, sugar-sweetened beverage, and water consumption.
Respondents were asked to indicate how many servings of fruit they consume each day (do not eat, 1, 2, 3, 4 or more); how many servings of vegetables they consume each day (do not eat, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or more); how many sugar-sweetened beverages they consume each day to include regular soda, fruit drinks/juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, coffee/tea drinks containing sugar, and sweetened water (do not consume, less than 1, 1, 2, 3, 4 or more); approximately how many cups of water they consume each day (none, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15 or more); and how many days during the past week they had breakfast (none, 1-2 days, 3-4 days, 5-6 days, and 7 days). Respondents were instructed to select from a list the type of diet/eating plan they are currently following, to check off any health, dietary or performance supplements they use.
Respondents were asked to select the number of alcoholic beverages they typically drink in a week (do not consume, less than 1, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7 or more). For tobacco products, participants were asked to indicate if they use cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizer, nicotine replacement products, or other products.
Sleep questions related to quantity (hours/day) and quality (amount of restless sleep during the past week), as used in the European Social Survey (Round 6) were asked (11). A 1-item sitting time question from the Lifestyle Physical Activity and Sedentary Scale, was asked, “How much time do you spend sitting on a typical day?” (27).
Physical activity questions related to frequency (how many days per week) and duration (how many minutes per session) of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), type of exercise activities (select all that apply from a list), as well as daily steps (if track, how many steps do they average each day) and use of training aids (select all that apply from a list).
Information on field hockey participation included competitive level (from primary/grade school through Olympic team) and length of participation in the sport of field hockey and in Masters field hockey (years). Questions asking frequency in participation in practices or pick-up games and in field hockey games or tournaments were included. Main reasons for participating in the sport of field hockey (select all that apply from a list), as well as a question on other sport participation was included (select from a list).
The 8-item Flourishing Scale was used to assess aspects of human functioning or well-being (7). According to Diener et al. (7), the Flourishing scale “consists of eight items describing important aspects of human functioning ranging from positive relationships to feelings of competence, to having meaning and purpose in life” (p.146). Responses for each item range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) and total scores ranging from an 8 (low) to a 56 (high): a high score represents an individual with many psychological resources and strengths. Reliability for this scale was initially established with the developers of the instrument (7) and further reliability and validity has been established in various countries (3, 16 and 31).
Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data in this study, which included frequencies, percentages, and means (±SD) for demographic, health, lifestyle, field hockey participation, and well-being variables. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine differences among the variables by sex and age (<50 years of age, 50 years of age and over), with significance set at p<.05. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 25.0 (IBM, Inc., Armonk, NY).
One hundred and twenty-two participants completed the survey (72 women, 50 men). Mean age was 50.1±8.3 years (range = 35 to 71 years).An overview of demographic variables is presented in Table 1.Table 1: Characteristics of 2018 U.S. Masters Field Hockey World Cup Athletes
|Variable||Number (n)||Percent (%)|
35 to 39 years
40 to 44 years
45 to 49 years
50 to 54 years
55 to 59 years
Not Currently Employed
|Type of Employment
$60,000 to $79,999
$80,000 to $99,999
$100,000 or more
Mean BMI was 24.9 kg/m2 (standard deviation [SD] = 3.1), with 56.0% of the sample classified as healthy weight (<25.0 kg/m2), 37.2% as overweight (25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2), and 3.3% as obese ≥30.0 kg/m2). A majority of respondents perceived their health as excellent (37.7%) or very good (49.2%), with 13.1% rating their health as good, 0% fair, and 0% poor. In terms of perceived stress, 14.8% respondents reported experiencing no recent stress at all, 41.8% reporting rarely, 36.9% sometimes, 4.9%) usually, and 1.6% very much.
A majority of the sample reported having no current health conditions (61.5%) and taking no medications (70.5%). The most reported health conditions were arthritis (16.4%), high cholesterol (9.0%), menopause symptoms (7.4%), and asthma (5.7%), with medications being taken for cholesterol (10.7%), arthritis (5.0%), menopause symptoms (5.0%), and blood pressure (4.1%). Just under one half of the sample reported having no current injuries (46.7%), with the most cited being low back pain (18.0%), knee injuries (14.8%), hamstring strains (11.5%) and plantar fasciitis (5.7%).
Nutrition questions included fruit, vegetable, breakfast, water, and sugar-sweetened beverage (Table 2) intake. Just over half of the sample (52.5%) reported following no special diet. Diets followed included low carbohydrate (8.2%), semi-vegetarian (4.9%), low fat (4.1%), intermittent fasting (4.1%), and pesco-vegetarian (4.1%). Regarding dietary, performance, or recovery supplement use, 36.9% reported taking a multivitamin/multimineral, with 34.4% not taking any supplements, followed by protein/amino acids (22.9%), fish oil (13.9%), probiotics (12.3%), glucosamine (10.7%), and sports drinks (10.7%).Table 2: Nutrition Habits of 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup Field Hockey Athletes
|Variable||Number (n)||Percent (%)|
|Vegetable Consumption (servings/day)
Do not eat
|Fruit Consumption (servings/day)
Do not eat
1 to 2
3 to 4
5 to 6
|Water Consumption (cups/day)
1 to 2
3 to 4
5 to 6
7 to 8
9 to 10
11 to 12
|Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (servings/day)
Do not consume
Alcohol consumption, in terms of servings per week, was distributed as follows: none (22.1%), <1 (15.6%), 1 to 2 (22.1%), 3 to 4 (18.0%), 5 to 6 (11.5%), and 7 or more (10.7%). One participant indicated use of cigarettes (0.8%), and one participant indicated cigar use (0.8%).
For sleep quantity, 6.6% participants reported getting 5 hours or less of sleep per night, with 27.9% reporting 6 hours/day, 43.4% reporting 7 hours/day, 20.5% reporting 8 hours/day, and 1.6% reporting 9 hours or more. For sleep quality, 21.3% reported experiencing restless sleep in the past week none of the time, 31.1% reporting almost none of the time, 41.0% reporting some of the time, and 6.6% reporting most of the time.
Sitting time was reported at less than 1 hour/day by 4.1% participants, 1 to 2 hours/day by 23.8% participants, 3 to 4 hours/day by 25.4% participants, 5 to 6 hours/day by 28.7% participants, 7 to 8 hours/day by 14.8% participants, and 9 hours/day or more by 3.2% participants.
Physical activity questions included moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) frequency (Figure 1), MVPA duration (Figure 2), and regular (at least one day per week) physical activity activities (Figure 3), as well as daily steps, competitive sport participation, and training/recovery aids. Just under two-thirds of the sample (62.3%) indicated tracking their daily steps. Of the 76 participants who tracked their steps, 10.5% reported achieving less than 7,500 steps/day, 21.1% reported achieving 7,500 to 9,999 steps/day, 36.8% reported achieving 10,000 to 12,499 steps/day, and 31.6% reported achieving 12,500 steps/day or greater. Aside from participating in field hockey, other competitive sports reported by participants included running (21.3%), golf (17.2%), tennis (12.3%), and soccer (9.8%), with 44.3% of participants reporting no other competitive sports participation. Training and recovery aids utilized by the participants can be found in Figure 4.
Figure 1. Frequency (days/week) of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity of 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup field hockey athletes (expressed as percentages).
Figure 2. Duration (minutes/session) of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity of 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup field hockey athletes (expressed as percentages).
Figure 3. Regular (at least 1 day per week) activities performed by 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup field hockey athletes (expressed as percentages).
Figure 4. Training or recovery aids used by 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup Field Hockey Athletes (expressed as percentages).
Field Hockey Participation
Field hockey participation survey questions related to 2018 World Cup team membership (Table 3), practices and games, and included frequency, duration, type, and history (Table 4). The most cited reasons for participating in field hockey included enjoyment/fun and competition, cited by 95.9% and 88.5% of the sample, respectively. Additional reasons included staying active (72.1%), being part of a team (69.7%), social connection (63.1%), and for physical fitness (59.0%)Table 3: Team Membership of 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup Field Hockey Athletes
|Age Group||Total (n)||Women (n)||Men (n)|
|Note: O35 = 35 years of age and older, O40 = 40 years of age and older, O45 = 45 years of age and older, O50 = 50 years of age and older, O55 = 55 years of age and older, and O60 = 60 years of age and older.|
|Variable||Field Hockey Participation (%)
|Years of Field Hockey Participation
Less than 20
20 to 29
30 to 39
40 or more
|Years of Masters Field Hockey Participation
Less than 1
1 to 3
4 to 6
7 to 9
10 to 14
15 or more
|Level of Participation
3 or more x/week
Once/2 to 3 months
More than once/week
Table 5 presents the results for the 8-items of the Flourishing Scale. Mean individual item scores ranged from 6.16±1.03 to 6.53±0.73 with the mean total score at 50.47±5.69.Table 5: Flourishing Scale Results of 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup Field Hockey Athletes
|My social relationships are supportive and rewarding.||6.16±1.03|
|I am engaged and interested in my daily activities.||6.24±0.83|
|I actively contribute to the happiness and well-being of others.||6.22±0.84|
|I am competent and capable in the activities that are important to me.||6.53±0.73|
|I am a good person and live a good life.||6.51±0.72|
|I am optimistic about my future.||6.35±0.82|
|People respect me.||6.31±0.82|
|Note: Individual item scores ranges from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).
Total scores range from 8-56. Higher scores denote higher levels of well-being.
Comparisons among the variables were conducted between sex (women, men) and age groups (under 50 years of age, 50 years of age and older) for perceived health and perceived stress, lifestyle behaviors, and the Flourishing Scale. For sex, significant differences were found for perceived stress, water consumption, sitting time, and MVPA frequency (Table 6). The only significant difference in age groups was for perceived stress, with participants 50 years of age and older reporting significantly (F=6.327, p=0.013) higher perceived stress (3.81±0.833) than those younger than 50 (3.43±0.840). No other significant differences were obtained.Table 6: Sex Differences in 2018 U.S. Masters World Cup Field Hockey Players
|Variable||Women (n=72)||Men (n=50)||F-value||p-value|
|Daily Water Consumption||5.35±2.02||4.44±1.61||6.995||0.009**|
|Daily Sitting Time||3.08±1.28||3.80±1.01||10.482||0.002*|
|Note: Values represent mean ± standard deviation.
MVPA = moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
*Denotes that men’s perceived stress and daily sitting times are significantly greater than women’s values.
**Denotes that women’s daily water consumption and MVPA frequency were significantly greater than men’s values.
The purpose of this study was to examine health, lifestyle behaviors, and well-being in U.S. Masters field hockey athletes who competed in the 2018 World Cup. In general, it was found that these athletes are educated and achieve high household income, are generally healthy and practice lifestyle behaviors conducive to health.
Masters athletes in our study had a high level of education, income, and free time for training and travel (8). Given the amount of training and travel required for participation in international competition, the various fields of participant employment likely allow significant training and travel.
In terms of health, the sample had few reported chronic illnesses (and few medications), injuries in the lower extremity and lower back, and healthy BMIs. Participants also indicated high levels of perceived health and low levels of perceived stress.
A majority of participants (87%) in this study reported their health as excellent or very good. This finding compares favorably to findings from the recent 2018 Food and Health Survey of U.S. residents, 18 years of age and older (19). In our study, there was a higher number of respondents with reported incomes over $75,000 who reported their health as excellent or very good, thus household income could be a mediating factor in the present study as well.
The most cited chronic conditions in this study were arthritis, high cholesterol, menopause symptoms and asthma, with medications cited for arthritis, high cholesterol, menopause symptoms and blood pressure. These findings are similar to (6), in a study of North American participants at the World Masters Games in 2009 of similar age our study (52.6±9.8 and 50.1±8.3, respectively), who reported the top chronic disorders to be arthritis, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma and depression and medications used for hypertension, thyroid hormones, hyperlipidemia, and bone strength.
The most common injuries in our study were sprains or strains of the lower extremity (lower back, knee, thigh, feet). In a recent systematic review of injuries in field hockey players of all ages (2), also reported the lower limbs to be the most affected; however, they found the most common type of injury to be contusions and hematomas. These findings extend to international masters soccer players as well (18).
Mean BMI for participants in our study was at the upper end of the healthy weight classification at 24.9 kg/m2. When further reviewed, 56.0% were classified as healthy weight, 37.2% as overweight, and 3.3% as obese. These findings compare favorably to a slightly younger sample (47.6 years of age) of soccer players participating in the 2009 World Masters Games (37). Mean BMI of the soccer players was 25.1 kg/m2,and obesity prevalence was 9.1%. The prevalence for obesity rates in the U.S. for adults, 40 to 59 years of age, and 60 years of age and older, have been reported to be 42.8% and 41.0%, respectively (14).
According to the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults consume at least 1.5 to 2.0 cup equivalents of fruit/day and 2.0 to 3.0 cup equivalents of vegetables per day. In our study, a majority of the sample consumed at least 2 servings each of fruit (70%) and vegetables (84%) per day. In 2015, only 12.2% and 9.3% of the U.S. adult population were reported to meet the Guidelines (21).
We found that 68% of participants consumed breakfast on a daily basis, 14% at least 5 to 6 days each week, and 9% consumed breakfast 3 to 4 days each week. Combined, this means that 91% of the sample consume breakfast at least 3 days a week, with 9% skipping breakfast the majority of the week. A recent commercial study conducted by the NPD Group, reported that 13% of women and 18% of men, 35 to 54 years of age, reported skipping breakfast, with that number declining with those 55 years of age and older (10% of women and 11% of men reported skipping breakfast) (25).
Just over half of the participants in our study indicated drinking at least 7 cups of water per day. Because the survey question asked about water intake versus fluid intake, it could be that participants consumed other beverages that could also contribute to total water intake. We also did not account for water intake from foods, which is also part of a person’s water intake. Still, the intake amount seems on the low side given the hydration needs for athletes pursuing high levels of physical activity during the summer (the season of survey administration).
Most participants followed stated that they did not consume a special diet (53%) or took supplements (37%). The most common diet participants reported following was a low-carbohydrate diet (8%), followed by semi-vegetarian (5%), low fat (4%), intermittent fasting (4%), and pesco-vegetarian (4%). In a general population survey conducted in the U.S., 36% report following a specific eating pattern, with low-carbohydrate related diets accounting for 16%, and intermittent fasting for 10% of selected diets (19).
Just over 38% of our sample reported consuming at least one sugar-sweetened beverage each day. This is just below the 43% reported in a New Zealand adult sample (27) and compares favorably to the 49% of adults reporting at least one sugar-sweetened beverage consumed each day (28).
A majority of participants reported consuming less than 5 alcoholic drinks per week. This compares favorably to the average consumption of just under 5 drinks per week in a sample of North American participants in the World Masters Games in 2009 (6). Only 2 participants in the present study reported using tobacco. This figure is half the rate of all participants (n=8,072) in the 2009 Sydney World Masters Games (36).
In terms of sleep, 78% of the sample obtain at least 7 hours of sleep per day and half report little to no restless sleep. In a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, recommendations call for 7 or more hours of sleep per night for adults over age 18 (38). With regards to quality of sleep, more than half of the sample (52%) reported experiencing restless sleep none/almost none of the time in the past week. This compares to 69% of an adult sample in New Zealand (27) and 83% of a European adult sample (23).
Sitting time varied amongst participants in this study with just under half (46.7%) of the sample reporting 5 hours or more of sitting time per day. This is higher than a Canadian sample adults, 45 to 64 years of age, with 41.2% reporting sitting for 4 or more hours per day (9), which was classified as sedentary behavior. In another study on masters athletes in Canada, women reported an average of 6.7 hours per day, while men reported an average of 5.2 hours of sitting with work and leisure (24). As reported by McCracken & Dogra (24), the higher volumes (frequency, intensity, and duration) of physical activity and sport participation, as well as working status, could explain the higher rates of sedentary time of masters athletes.
The amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was high, which would be expected in the days leading up to and including the World Cup competition. Frequency was high, with 96% of the sample reporting 3 or more days per week and 75% reporting 5 or more days per week. Duration was also high, with 98% reporting 30 minutes or more per session and 57% reporting 60 minutes or more. These rates are much higher than those reported in the general population, with 50% of adults reporting 150 minutes and 25% reporting 300 minutes of weekly physical activity (4). The high level of physical activity was also reflected in the high number of daily steps achieved in those who tracked their steps, with the majority of trackers achieving active (37%) or high active (32%) status, according to a zone-based hierarchy proposed by (34).
Regular exercise activities also related to what would be expected while training for a major event, with jogging, walking, weight training and stretching most common. In terms of training or recovery aids, foam rollers, massage sticks/bars/balls and massages were common, as was the use of ice packs or wraps. These types of aids would also be expected with athletes in general, and masters athletes as well.
Field Hockey Participation
Most participants had over 30 years of participation in field hockey and under 3 years of participation in masters field hockey. These findings would be expected given the age of the participants and the relative new emphasis on U.S. Masters field hockey. Also, given the data collection time frame, it was not surprising that the frequency of practices/pickup games and games/tournaments was high.
The most common reason given for participating in field hockey was enjoyment/fun, followed by competition, staying active, being part of a team, the social connection, and for physical fitness. These motives for participation are similar to those found in a 2010 study of international masters soccer players, who cited “fun game and skills use, competition, keep young and fit, team experience, and social” as reasons for continued participation in soccer (18).
Well-being scores, as assessed via the Flourishing Scale, indicate a high level of well-being amongst the participants. The mean score of 50.5 meets the “flourishing” threshold of a score of 48 and above proposed by (16). They posit that “total scores of 48 and above require individuals to ‘agree’ (6) or ‘strongly agree’ (7) on average across the scale’s eight items.” The highest subscale scores were found in competence (6.53 out of 7), self-respect (6.51 out of 7), and optimism (6.35 out of 7). The lowest subscale scores were positive relationships (6.16 out of 7) and purpose/meaning (6.17 out of 7). The mean total of 50.47 in the current sample compares favorably to a mean total of 43.82 in a New Zealand adult sample (17).
Age and Sex Comparisons
Women reported lower stress, higher water consumption, less sitting time, and greater frequency of physical activity than men. Participants ages 50 and older reported higher stress than those younger than 50 years of age. Our findings regarding women reporting lower stress than men and older adults reporting higher stress contradict the recent Stress in America, The State of Our Nation survey (1). Our findings in regards to water intake also contradict those from the NHANES National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which showed men consume more water per day than women (29). In terms of physical activity frequency, Heazlewood et al. (15) found no differences between females and males with overall training days per week.
Strengths, Limitations, and Recommendations
This study was the first to examine health & lifestyle behaviors of masters field hockey athletes. While there was a high (62%) response rate, characteristics of non-participants is not known. As with any self-report survey, recall bias and social desirability bias are always an issue; where feasible, it is recommended that objective measures be utilized. Future recommendations include comparing masters athletes to age and gender-matched not-athletic peers, to masters field hockey athletes from other countries, and to masters participants in other team sports.
Data from this study describe the lifestyle behaviors and health status of U.S. masters field hockey athletes competing in the 2018 Masters Field Hockey World Cup. Additional data on field hockey participation was gleaned. Overall, findings from this study suggest that Masters field hockey athletes are healthy and practice lifestyle behaviors conducive to positive health.
APPLICATIONS IN SPORT
The many benefits of physical activity for middle-aged and older adults are well-known. With an expanding older adult population, it is important to identify strategies to increase and maintain physical activity in order to attain this benefits. One such strategy might be participation in leisure-time activities, such as masters sport. Therefore, it is also important to identify strategies for increasing levels of participation in sport into middle-age and beyond.
Thank you to the members of the 2018 U.S. Masters & Grand Masters World Cup Field Hockey Teams who participated in the survey and to U.S.A. Masters Field Hockey and the International Masters Field Hockey Association for assistance in participant recruitment. This research was supported by a Saint Joseph’s College Faculty Development Grant.
DECLARATION OF INTEREST STATEMENT
The authors report no conflict of interest.
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