ActiveAge – Physical Activity and Subjective Aging in the Context of Transition to Retirement

Project Description

This alliance of projects builds on the significant influence of subjective perceptions of the aging process for aging well. It studies the relationship between physical activity and subjective aging in the everyday lives of older adults. The Project ActiveAge consists of two sub-projects: A large-scale pilot study as well as a subsequent intervention study.

The pilot study, funded within Field of Focus 4 of Heidelberg University’s Excellence Initiative, comprises a sample of N=40 retirees aged 50 to 70 years. Its goal is to examine the role of subjective aging for planning and implementing physical activity goals. Moreover, we want to examine how reversely the everyday-level of physical activity translates into intra-individual dynamics in subjective aging experiences: Do people feel younger on days with higher levels of physical activity? Does a positive view on aging lead to a more active lifestyle in old age?

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the everyday-dynamics between these two constructs, we deliberately employ a daily-diary design, which is complemented by the use of innovative activity-tracking devices.

Based on the insights gained in this pilot study we will then conduct an intervention study, which is funded by the Innovation Fund FRONTIER at Heidelberg University. The intervention study comprises a sample of N=80 retirees and aims at increasing physical activity levels during this susceptible life phase. The building blocks of the intervention study make use of the feedback tools provided by commercially available activity-tracking devices and are based on health-psychological theories of behavior change.

The overall aim of this alliance of projects is contribute to the research fields of subjective aging and physical activity with a better understanding of intra-individual dynamics in the everyday lives of older adults.


This project co-operates with the NAR-Junior Research Group “Effects of physical activity and exercise on motor and cognitive performance in older adults” lead by Dr. Michael Schwenk.


Project Duration and Funding

  • 1.11.2015 – 31.12.2016: Pilot Study; Funding within Field of Focus 4 of Heidelberg University’s Excellence Initiative
  • 01.01.2016 – 31.8.2017: Intervention Study; Funding within the Innovation Fund FRONTIER at Heidelberg University

Projekt Management

Scientific Administration

  • Carl-Philipp Jansen

Student Assistants

  • Tianna Jackson
  • Caroline Fleischmann
  • Vanessa Pallentin
Responsible: Email
Latest Revision: 2017-11-27
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