New research - Seniors get physical

New research by National Seniors Australia shows nearly one in three older Australians are exercising five times a week or more including more than a quarter of those aged over 80.

The research by Australia’s peak advocacy group for older Australians, coincides with the Australian Masters Games now underway in Adelaide.

Almost 4,000 older Australians aged from 50 to 80+ took part in the survey which revealed:

  • 32% exercised five times a week or more including 28% of those aged 80+
  • 23% exercised three to four times a week, while just 5% didn’t exercise at all
  • Only a quarter of respondents found exercise painful
  • 21% exercised regularly on their own; 14% exercised regularly in a team; 12% exercised regularly both in a team and on their own.

National Seniors Chief Executive and Lead Researcher, Professor John McCallum says the survey explodes the myth that older Australians become less active as they age.

“Our research shows that, if anything, the older you get the more active you get,” he said.

“And we know that the more physically active older Australians are, the less chance they will suffer mobility issues later in life.”      

Masters Games General Manager, Gary O’Donnell says the Games promote physical and social activity which has huge health benefits, including for mental health.

“The Australian Masters Games aims to promote the benefits of long-term health and wellbeing by providing a platform through which adults aged 30 years and over can compete and socialise - which is so important as we get older,” said Mr O’Donnell.

National Seniors members also gave comment in the survey about their own experiences with regular exercise.

“Keep moving or you die,” said one respondent bluntly.

“I exercise every morning for one hour. It helps my physical and mental health.

“Life is much harder when I don't exercise,” said another respondent.

But many respondents also said they found it difficult to be motivated to exercise on their own and found it is easier when doing it in a group.

As one respondent put it, “I know how to exercise but find it very hard to commit to exercise on my own. It would be good to find a local group to exercise with regularly.”

The Australian Masters Games is on in Adelaide until Saturday October 12 .  7,800 people are competing from 23 countries in 45 different sports.