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Fit Facts For Older Adults

  • 39% of adults in Canada aged 65 years and older are overweight; an additional 13% are considered obese.1
  • In Canada, approximately one in four women and one in eight men over 50 years of age have osteoporosis.2
  • Osteoporosis can lead to painful fractures, disability, and deformity.2, 3
  • One of the risk factors for osteoporosis is low amounts of physical activity.2
  • 70% of fall-induced injuries in older adults are bone fractures. These injuries are the most costly to the healthcare system.3

Activity Facts:

  • The most popular physical activities among Canadian adults aged 20 years and older are walking for exercise, gardening and yard work, home exercise, swimming, and bicycling.4
  • Physical activity decreases with age.4, 5, 6
  • By age 75, approximately one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.7
  • In 1999, approximately $2.1 billion of the total direct costs to Canada’s healthcare system were attributable to physical inactivity.8
  • A 10% reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity among the Canadian population might reduce direct healthcare expenditures by $150 million per year.8
  • Older adults can benefit from regular physical activity and the activities don’t have to be strenuous for the accruement of health benefits.9
  • Previously sedentary older adults who begin physical activity programs should start with short intervals of moderate physical activity (5-10 minutes) and gradually build up to the desired amount.10
  • Older adults should consult with a physician before beginning a new physical activity program.10
  • Social support from family and friends has been consistently and positively related to regular participation in physical activity.1, 11

Benefits of Activity:

  • Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes.12, 13
  • Associated with lower resting blood pressure and can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.13
  • Moderate and vigorous levels of activity are associated with a reduced risk of suffering from a stroke.14, 15
  • Associated with glucose stability and might contribute to the prevention of glucose intolerance.13, 16
  • Can improve cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength, and body fat.17
  • Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.18
  • Helps maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones.19, 20, 21
  • Has been seen to help reduce the risk of decline in cognitive functioning.22
  • Positively associated with visual attention skills in older adults.23
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.24
  • Has been seen to help in reductions of pain associated with aging and chronic disabilities.25
  • In addition to cardio-respiratory endurance (aerobic) activity, older adults can also benefit from muscle-strengthening activities. Stronger muscles help reduce the risk of falling and improve the ability to perform routine tasks of daily life.26
  • There is a strong, positive association between total lean body weight and bone mineral density in older adults, particularly among males.27


Your Walking Workout