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First Activity Recommendations for Older Australians

First Activity Recommendations for Older Australians
March 23, 2009

The Australian Government has released recommendations for physical activity levels for older Australians.

Under the new recommendations, which the Government claims as an Australian first, older people are urged to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day.

The Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Australians are part of the Australian Governmentâs plan to promote healthy and positive ageing, announced today by Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, at the 11th Annual Health Congress in Sydney. At the launch the Minister stated "physical activity in older people is important for helping to prevent or manage chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

"The aim of the recommendations is to raise awareness of older Australians' special physical activity needs - such as balance, mobility and strength training.

The new recommendations, developed by the National Ageing Research Institute. apply to older people across all levels of health and ability, be they living at home or in an aged care home. They recommend that that older Australians:

• Should do some form of physical activity â 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.

Specific examples of physical activity include:

• Moderate fitness activities such as brisk walking, vacuuming or golf;
• Strength activities such as carrying groceries, moderate yard work or taking the stairs instead of the lift;
• Flexibility activities such as tai chi, bowls or yoga; and
• Balancing activities such as walking heel to toe.

The recommendations were endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers Conference late last year.

Further information and suggestions for how older Australians can follow the new recommendations can be obtained in the Choose Health: Be Active booklet.

First developed in 2005 for older Australians in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Sports Medicine Australia, the booklet offers helpful tips and advice on how older people can engage in moderate activity to improve their lives and health.

The booklet can be ordered free of charge by calling 1800 500 853,

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