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Move It Aus expanded to focus on older Australians
Sport Australia Chief Executive Kate Palmer says a new $22.9 million program will encourage sport and physical activity providers to focus on empowering older Australians to become more active.
Sport Australia will manage the Move It Aus - Better Ageing grants program, aimed at Australians aged 65 and over, launched today by Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie.
With the number of Australians aged 65 and over projected to more than double in the next 40 years, Palmer said the Move It Aus - Better Ageing program would be an important step to encourage sport and physical activity providers to be adaptable and offer more options and products for older Australians.
Palmer explained “Australia’s demographics are shifting and while that presents a challenge in broader health terms, there’s a great chance for us as a sport industry to make a positive difference to the lives of older Australians through physical activity.
“Sport Australia recently launched our overarching national Move It Aus campaign, which encourages Australians of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to try and find 30 minutes of physical activity per day. The Move It Aus - Better Ageing Program is one of the next steps in bringing that awareness campaign to life in a real and practical way. Sport Australia looks forward to partnering with sports and physical activity providers to get older Australians moving more often.
“Our research tells us older Australians are motivated to be active, but their choice of sport and physical activities change with age. Sport needs to be adaptable to these changes.”
Sport Australia’s AusPlay research shows that although overall physical activity levels drop as people age, the main motivations to be active remain almost the same.
These motivations for physical activity among Australians aged 65 and over are: physical health and fitness (77.4%); fun/enjoyment (39.4%) and social reasons (26.1%).
However, the most popular physical activities do change, with over 65s leaning more towards recreational activities than sport. The most popular activities among the over 65s population include: walking (60.9%); fitness/gym (27.8%); swimming (10.8%); golf (9.8%) cycling (7.3%) and bowls (4.6%).
Among those Australians over 65 who don’t participate in sport and physical activity, more than half (50.7%) cite poor health and injury as the biggest barrier.
Palmer added “it’s undeniable that sport and physical activity are beneficial to physical and mental health so as a sport industry we need to challenge ourselves to come up with innovative ways to help older Australians benefit from an active lifestyle.
“Sport Australia encourages sport and physical activity providers to consider partnerships that enhance the delivery of these projects.”
Australian tennis legend and former Davis Cup captain, John Fitzgerald, helped launched the grants today in Canberra and is also encouraging older Aussies to get moving.
Fitzgerald advised “sport is integral to health and wellbeing for people of all ages. The Move It Aus - Better Ageing grants program is a fantastic initiative that will enable more opportunities for older Australians to get out and get active.
“Tennis is a sport for life and can be played by people of all abilities; it’s great for keeping fit, healthy and socially connected.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play throughout my whole life and I hope that this funding means that more seniors get the opportunity to participate in tennis.”
Physical Activity habits of Australians aged 65 and over:
• Fewer Australians participate as they age, but those that do participate do so more frequently. 86.3% of Australians aged 65 and over participate in sport or physical activity at least once a year, compared to 89.5% of 50-64 year-olds. But when you look at those who participate more than three times a week, it’s 64% for those aged 65+ and those aged 50-64.
• 18.9% think age is a barrier to participation.
• More than half of participation is done through organisations/at venues (52.5%)
• Participation in sport-related activities drops as we age, with a preference for recreational activities.
Top 10 activities are identified as walking (60.9%); fitness/gym (27.8%); swimming (10.8%); golf (9.8%); cycling (7.3%); bowls (4.6%); tennis (3.6%); bushwalking (3.6%); Pilates (2.8%) and yoga (2.6%).
Applications for Move It Aus - Better Ageing grants opened today (20th September) and close on 31st October 2018.
Guidelines are available at sportaus.gov.au/betterageing
1st August 2018 - Federal Government releases new national sport plan
28th September 2017 - ESSA highlights how physical activity is beneficial for all ages
31st August 2017 - Snap Fitness offers ‘less intimidating environments’ for older exercisers
29th March 2017 - Study shows HIIT the best exercise for anti-ageing
29th November 2014 - Physiologist warns exercise or face rapid declining health in old age
26th April 2012 - Ageing population presents opportunites for fitness clubs
18th September 2009 - Baby Boomers should live like athletes
23rd March 2009 - First Activity Recommendations for Older Australians
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