Being physically active helps us to stay independent and mobile. It boosts immune function and reduces the risk of chronic illness. That is why it is so important to do more to meet physical activity guidelines. Then we can reap the many benefits and age well. Older adults often don’t know how to become physically active, or how to keep doing so safely.
Many factors have been identified in the support of getting and staying active. These include knowing and valuing the benefits of physical activity and having the motivation and confidence to do activities safely. All of these factors are part of what is called “physical activity literacy.” It means we have the capacity for a healthy, active lifestyle. It speaks to how we learn to get more active and stay that way as we age.
Increasing Physical Activity Literacy
Physical activity literacy as an approach to increasing the physical levels of older adults is growing in interest and Active Aging Canada is promoting a new resource that can help increase the physical activity literacy of Canadian Seniors. The “Physical Activity for Older Adults” resource tells older Canadians how to engage in safe, successful physical activity. The easy-to-read resource shares information on the benefits of physical activity and how to overcome common barriers to taking the first steps toward becoming physically active.
Toward our goal of increasing physical activity literacy, every month, Active Aging Canada also posts a short, informative, easy-to-read article on an active living topic. From exercising in hot weather to how exercise can boost the immune system, these articles are based on the latest research and include practical tips and resources. You can read our Active Aging Network articles here.
Looking for inspiration?
Research tells us that socio-cultural norms and expectations can influence how older adults engage in physical activity. In other words, we can inspire each other to be active. Active Aging Canada recently started an Active Agers video series on our YouTube Channel, where older Canadians share their experiences with physical activity. They tell us why and how they got started, their favourite activities, and their advice for others. Like Jan from Ontario who most enjoys dance exercise at her local recreation centre to Don from Manitoba who likes to hike with his son. We can all find inspiration from their messages of “just move, keep moving, and have fun!”
You can become physically active at any age and activities can be modified for all abilities and health conditions. Learning the “ABCs” of physical activity for health and aging well is a great first step!
Remember, what you do every day matters.