Seniors' Hurdles – New research on barriers to physical activity

Two thirds of respondents wanted to be more physically active but listed various barriers preventing them.

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National Seniors Australia, the peak consumer organisation for older Australians has today released a comprehensive study into seniors and physical activity, revealing the biggest barriers to exercise.

The national survey received almost 4,000 responses and showed that two thirds of respondents wanted to be more physically active but listed various barriers preventing them.

The biggest barrier to physical activity was a lack of motivation (32%), followed by health issues (27%) and mobility (21%).

However, respondents also gave examples of how they overcome some of these hurdles by:

  • exercising with a friend or group
  • participating in a team sport
  • owning a dog which requires regular exercise.

National Seniors CEO and Chief Researcher, Professor John McCallum says the survey shows how important seniors regard physical activity in maintaining their physical and mental health.

“Older Australians are becoming increasingly active. This is so important for a healthy later life,” Professor McCallum said.

“Those who feel they aren’t being active enough can name the barriers and express a desire to overcome them.”

Some respondents offered comments in their survey as to why they want to do more exercise:

“I think of exercise as investing in myself….,” said one respondent.

And this from another, “I force myself to exercise because it’s good for me! Use it or lose it.”

The report has been launched today at Parliament House by the Minister for Ageing and Sport, the Honourable Senator Richard Colbeck.


Professor John McCallum is available for comment

Contact National Seniors here.

About the report

In partnership with the Confederation of Australian Sport (CAS), National Seniors Australia presents findings from the physical activity component of the online annual National Seniors Social Survey. Members and non-members aged over 50 years from all states and territories were eligible to participate. Approximately 4,000 participants provided responses to four physical activity questions that also included free text options.

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