Majority of UK's over-65s not active enough

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Research announced today, on International Day of Older Persons (Tuesday 1 October), has revealed that more than three quarters of over-65s do not hit the recommended exercise targets. This is despite the warnings that sedentary behaviour is linked to 70,000 deaths in the UK every year*.

A survey commissioned by local leisure operator, Everyone Active, revealed 78% of over-65s are not achieving the amount of weekly activity advised by the NHS, which includes 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and two days of strength exercises**.

In response to this, Everyone Active has launched its Age Is Just A Number campaign to engage a senior demographic. Throughout October, it will be celebrating its older members by showcasing their fitness stories and proving what can be achieved by staying active into later life. From Monday 28th October – Friday 1st November, it is also opening its doors to everyone over the age of 65 to enjoy a free gym or Senior Swimming session at Scarborough Sports Village, Pindar Leisure Centre and Whitby Leisure Centre.

Of all the activities favoured by over 65s, the survey saw walking come out on top, with 59% saying they take a daily stroll. Swimming followed in second but was significantly less prevalent, with only 12% saying they take the plunge.

Despite the popularity of gym-based activity among other age groups, just 8% of those surveyed said they attended a gym. Only 4% reported playing golf, while other common sports such as rugby, football and netball were notably absent from the list of popular activities.

David Bibby, managing director at Everyone Active, said:

"This research proves there is still a lot of work needed to improve activity levels among people aged 65 and over in the local community.

"It's our aim to create friendly, welcoming environments that motivate people of all ages to get active. I would urge older generations to take the opportunity to visit our centres free of charge and discover all different ways they can enjoy getting active."

The leisure operator is also on the search for a ‘face of older people’s activity’. It is on a quest to find an individual who proves gyms, swimming pools and everything in between are there for people of all ages to enjoy. For more information or to make a nomination, visit https://www.everyoneactive.com/promotion/ageisjustanumber

The research poll was carried out with more than 1,000 people from across the country aged 65 and over.

 

*Figure reported by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2019.

**These guidelines are based on adults aged 65 or older who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility. For more information, visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/physical-activity-guidelines-older-adults/