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By GreaterSport | 08 April 2019 | TAGS: research, older adults, Research and learning

A study commissioned by leisure operator GLL compared the exercise habits of 2,000 people across all age groups and the various factors that affect their levels of activity.

It suggested that people place increasing importance on improving and maintaining their physical health as they get older, with 75 per cent of all respondents aged 55 and over giving this as a reason to get out and train, compared to 64 per cent of respondents aged 18-24.

However, the study also suggests that older people now place as much importance on exercising to boost mental wellbeing, as younger age groups – with 53.3 per cent of over 55s citing improving their mental health as a benefit of regular physical activity. This compares with 52.25 per cent of participants aged 18-54.

GreaterSport's Ageing lead, Beth Mitchell said

"It is great to see that leisure providers such as GLL are being proactive in showcasing the association between mental health and physical activity within older adults. This also sets a precedent and showcases it being the ‘norm’ for older adults to regularly be accessing leisure centres and that sessions are inclusive of all ages."

In Greater Manchester the Sport England funded 'Active Ageing programme launched in April 2018 and supports inactive older people (aged 55+) to achieve at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week.

Beth continues "As part of the Greater Manchester Active Ageing programme, it has become prevalent that 'we as a sector have previously been trying to sell physical activity, but older adults are actually wanting to buy friendships!'." 

The approach of the Active Ageing programme has predominately been focused around embedding physical activity into the whole system to improve the overall outcomes for older adults (specifically around physical and mental wellbeing); holding person-centred conversations drawing on the strengthens of older people living within communities to understand how we can utilise the social element to bring communities together and finally enabling continuous involvement of older people contributing to effective co-design.

Visit more information on GLL's findings here or to find out more about the Active Ageing programme in Greater Manchester here

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