A new report has called for a "major culture shift" in order to get older people more physically active.
The Reimagining Ageing
report, by ukactive, claims that not only are older people are having 'their lives cut tragically short' through a physical inactivity epidemic, but the issue threatens to plunge the UK into a major social care crisis.
Analysis from ukactive, DataHub and Sheffield Hallam University shows that getting older people more physically active could lead to a potential saving of £7.6bn to the NHS and the care system.
“Many of the more grievous issues associated with old age, such as lack of mobility, illness and muscle weakness can actually come as a result of a lack of fitness," said Muir Gray, chief knowledge officer of the NHS.
“Physical activity is vital to ensure older populations can lead long, healthy and independent lives, even in their twilight years.”
As ways of getting older people more active, the report recommends the creation of active environments through accessible community facilities and the embedding of physical activity promotion into the healthcare system – as well as harnessing "new, innovative technologies" to make exercise the natural choice for older people.
The authors also renew a call – made by ukactive chair Tanni Grey-Thompson earlier this year – for a national roll-out of wellness hubs, which places physical activity facilities alongside libraries, police stations and GPs as a single community focal point.
"Evidence from existing wellness hubs has demonstrated a significant positive impact on local communities, particularly among older populations," the report states.
ukactive CEO Steven Ward added: “We need to inspire a major culture shift in how we approach our ageing years, with a major emphasis of building physical activity in at every step to ensure long lives are also healthy lives.”
To download and read the full Reimagining Ageing
report , click here.