Physical activity and older adults – An overview of guidelines, trends, policies and frameworks

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Date
2019-10-22
Authors
Cunningham, C.
O’Sullivan, R.
Institute of Public Health in Ireland
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Institute of Public Health in Ireland
Abstract
There are major individual and societal benefits to getting people more active. Being physically active is one of the most important first steps that people of all ages can take to improve their health and wellbeing. Regular participation in physical activity can also help promote social interaction, reduce isolation and build cohesion in community networks. Everyone should be encouraged and supported to be active every day in as many ways as they can. In the Republic of Ireland, 55% of older adults aged 65-74years (and 37% aged 75 years or over) report taking part in sufficient physical activity to meet established guidelines for health. In Northern Ireland 41% of older adults aged 65-74years(and 10% aged 75 years or over) meet the physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity or an equivalent combination of the two (see Table 1, p.16). This publication provides an overview of physical activity policies, frameworks and guidelines on the island of Ireland and aims to be a resource for researchers, practitioners and policymakers. It summarises key national policies and identifies how they aim to support older adults to achieve recommended levels of physical activity for health. In summary, they highlight the importance of: a ‘life course’ approach: ageing policy is an issue for all ages and sectors of society the implications of an ageing population, and challenges faced by particular groups of older adults in becoming physically active increasing participation in all aspects of physical activity by improving access and opportunities for older adults reducing inequalities in health and participation as this has the potential to support older adults to become more active
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Keywords
Older adults, Physical activity
Citation
Cunningham, C. & O’Sullivan, R. (2019). Physical activity and older adults: An overview of guidelines, trends, policies and frameworks. Institute of Public Health in Ireland. Dublin/Belfast.
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