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60 is the new 30: Six ways being active keeps you young

We need to get Canadian seniors active to improve their quality of life

Group of senior adults trekking in the forest

Did you know that between 2015 and 2021 the number of Canadian seniors is projected to exceed the number of children aged 14 and younger for the first time ever? By 2036, the number of seniors in Canada could reach anywhere between 9.9- and 10.9-million people.

With those numbers in mind, it’s safe to say that every single one of us has at least one person in our lives over the age of 65 that we really care about, a relative, friend or even a co-worker. And while aging comes with the opportunity to watch loved ones grow up and make memories, older adulthood also comes with an increased risk for several chronic health conditions such as hypertension, arthritis and osteoporosis — just to name a few.

Before we get too heavy into the numbers, there’s a picture we’re trying to paint here: as our nation ages, it’s critical we develop health promoting habits that offset or slow the progression of age- and lifestyle-related behaviours. Physical activity has been identified as a key tool to supporting healthy aging. Specifically, incorporating it into daily routines of all Canadians can help combat the growing trend of seniors dealing with non-communicable or chronic illnesses, cognitive decline and mental health problems.

Physical activity is an excellent tool to help maintain a healthy lifestyle at any age, but the impacts it can have on seniors is huge. Quite simply, being active on the regular is a great way to Age Better.

Movement is for everyone, regardless of age

Here’s the really great thing about being active: we can enjoy the benefits regardless of the date on our driver’s license or the number of candles on our birthday cake. Sure, competing in certain sports and activities may be easier on the body in our 20s and 30s compared to our 60s or 70s, but that definitely does not mean we have to start cutting physical activity out of our routines.

We just need to find the right kind of activities to suit our physical activity level and ability. A great way to do just that? Download our comprehensive seniors’ toolkit for detailed health info such as the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for older adults, age-appropriate sports/activities, tips on incorporating physical activity into your daily routine and a lot more.

At the end of the day, the positive impacts of physical activity on seniors is undeniable. So, as a society, we really need to start talking about the necessity for older adults to remain active into their 50s, 60s and 70s. To not only feel young at heart, but to really get the most our of life and enjoy the benefits that come along with living an active lifestyle. Such as:

  1.  Lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
  2.  Reduced rates of colon and breast cancers.
  3.  Improved self-esteem, moods and the ability to handle stress.
  4.  Lower risk of falling
  5.  Better cognitive function
  6.  Improved strength, balance, flexibility and mobility

Elder generation sitting in yoga pose

Compared to most of the benefits on that list, lower risk of falling seems kind of insignificant, especially when compared to other positive impacts of physical activity such as lower rates of heart disease and reduced risk of cancers.

But take this in for a minute: falls effect a huge portion of the older population, as 28 per cent to 35 per cent of people aged over 65 fall each year. That number increases to 32 per cent to 42 per cent for those 70 or older.

So, to help keep our loves ones strong, social and on their feet, take them for with a walk through the park, visit a local pool or try out a nearby yoga studio. Not only will these activities boost social bonding and positive emotions, they will also help develop stronger muscle groups, bones and therefore, mobility.

The writing is on the wall Canada: we need to get seniors moving to improve their quality of life. Physical activity is for everyone, regardless of size, shape or age. Because, Everything gets better when you get active.

Looking to try something new this spring? The weather is – finally – starting to improve, and that means we should be getting out of the house as much as possible. To help you get the most out of the awesome weather, check out our spring activity quiz. Answer a few short lifestyle questions and let us match you with a new spring activity! Take the quiz here.

Download the new (AND FREE) ParticipACTION app today!

For even more ways to get – and stay – active this spring, download our new app! Track all of your spring activities in the app and be rewarded for doing so. Head over to the Apple App Store or Google Play and download now for free!

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