Exercise attitudes and behaviours among retired female collegiate athletes

Objectives: The present study explored exercise attitudes and behaviours among retired female collegiate athletes. Design: A survey design incorporating both closed and open-ended questions was adopted. Method: A total of 218 former NCAA Division I female athletes (n = 144 gymnastics; n = 74 swimming/diving) provided details on their current exercise behaviours and their thoughts regarding exercise since retiring from collegiate sport. Results: No relations were found between years since retirement and athletes’ current exercise frequency, types of exercise activities, and reasons for exercising. Despite reporting activity levels consistent with recommendations (5 days/week, 1 hour per session), retired athletes remained dissatisfied with their activity levels and struggled to integrate exercise alongside occupational, academic and social demands. Conclusions: Athletes may require support in adapting to an independent and less intense exercise regime on retirement. Future research may look to explore exercise attitudes and behaviours among retired athletes from a longitudinal perspective.