Countries across the world are marking Active Ageing Week this week (October 1-4) and celebrating positive health and fitness choices in later life.
The initiative, which was first launched by the International Council on Active Ageing (ICAA) in 2003, sees a series of events and awareness-raising activites being held in many UK and worldwide locations. The aim is to shine a spotlight on the importance of physical activity as part of life, regardless of age.
The dates of the week were chosen to coincide with October 1, which in the USA is the International Day of Older Persons.
This year’s theme for Active Aging Week is ‘active at any age’ and aims to promote active and successful ageing through education, information and opportunities.
Many centres for sport and fitness are working in association with the ICAA to run events to showcase the range of activities they have available to older people. These might be public talks, interactive workshops, demonstration sessions for people to come along and observe, or taster sessions to encourage older people to join in and then sign up for a weekly class.
Just two examples of organisations running events are Age UK in Stockport who are hosting Walking Netball group sessions, and the University of Worcester who has a full timetable of talks and lectures covering subjects from exercise with osteoporosis to being active with, and beyond, cancer.
The ICAA introduced Active Aging Week to combat inactivity in older people which was said to account for 23,881 avoidable deaths in 2017.
Research has shown that around 6.4 million people aged 55+ are inactive – over half of all inactive people in England. Physical activity can reduce falls, depression and dementia by 30 per cent and the right physical activities could prevent over a million falls a year.
In addition, regular exercise has the power to reduce social isolation, improve mental health and increase good feelings.
The Active Aging Week initiative celebrates positive health and fitness choices in later life and strives to ensure that everyone, whatever their age, has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle.