Thursday, April 16, 2009

First Physical Activity Recommendations For Older Australians

“For the first time, the Australian Government has developed physical activity recommendations specifically for older Australians. Under the new recommendations, older Australians are urged to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, as a slight increase in activity can make a difference to a person's overall health and wellbeing. The recommendations are part of the Australian Government's plan to promote healthy and positive ageing. The Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot, today officially announced the Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Australians at the 11th Annual Health Congress in Sydney. Australians now have one of the world's longest life expectancies. The current life expectancy is 81.4 years and, by 2060, an Australian woman can expect – on average – to reach the age of 90. Currently, there are some 2.8 million Australians – about 13 per cent of the population – aged 65 and over. This number is expected to triple in 40 years. The new recommendations apply to older people across all levels of health and ability, be they living at home or in an aged care home. The National Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Australians were developed by the National Ageing Research Institute based in Melbourne. ‘The aim of the recommendations is to raise awareness of older Australians’ special physical activity needs – such as balance, mobility and strength training,’ Mrs Elliot said. The new physical activity recommendations include that older Australians:
· Should do some form of physical activity – no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities;
· Should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days;
· Should be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility; and
· Who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.”

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