Promoting physical activity in older people for better ageing
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
CARDI launched the report Keeping Active for Better Ageing at The International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics European Region Congress 2015 in Dublin today (Friday 24 April 2015). The research paper examines the factors that encourage more physical activity in older adults with a particular focus on potential policy and practice interventions.
Older people falling short of recommended levels of activity
The World Health Organization recommends that people over 65 should do 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five times a week. Research shows that people aged 70-93 who met recommended guidelines for physical activity had fewer chronic conditions, less depression and less mobility limitations (Jeffries et al., 2014).
However, just 32% of people aged 65-69 in ROI and 17% in NI engage in sufficient levels of physical activity (TILDA, 2011 and DHSSPS, 2011).
Older women are 75% less likely to be sufficiently active and those in poorer socio-economic groups have lower levels of activity (Murtagh et al., 2014).
Interventions to increase activity
At a policy level programmes that support older people to increase their physical activity are most successful when they contain specific, attainable and tailored targets.
Tackling poverty, addressing structural inequalities and promoting healthy ageing may also help in addressing the socio-economic factors that prevent some groups of older people participating in physical activity.
Involving medical professions in promotion and ‘prescription’ of physical activity may also help increase levels of physical activity in older people.
Conor Breen, CARDI’s Policy Officer and author of the report said, ‘The majority of older people in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland fall far short of WHO guidelines on physical activity despite the demonstrable physical and mental benefits associated with it. In the context of an ageing population increasing physical activity should be a policy priority as it can bring significant benefits not just to the individual but also to health and social care systems as it may help decrease the prevalence of chronic conditions and disability in older people.’
Keeping Active for Better Ageing reviews the latest research on older people and physical activity and current policy initiatives across the island of Ireland as well as examining international initiatives for promoting physical activity to create a complete picture what works in getting older people more active in later life.
The report provides useful information for researchers and policymakers working in the area of ageing as well as voluntary and community groups who are engaged in health promotion among older people.
Conor Breen, CARDI Policy Officer, t: 00 353 (0) 1 478 6303, e: firstname.lastname@example.org