Importance of Physical Activity for Successful Aging
Background: Despite being one of the fastest growing age cohorts in Canada, older adults experience greater levels of physical inactivity compared to the rest of the Canadian population. Purpose: The purpose of this student-driven narrative review is to supplement an evidence-based knowledge translation video designed to inform the general population on the benefits of physical activity for older adults. The review further discusses the implications of threshold-centered physical activity promotion on physical activity behaviour in adult populations. Discussion: Regular participation in physical activity is associated with several health benefits, including a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality, and type 2 diabetes. Although many physical activity programs use a ‘threshold-centered’ approach (by using international and national physical activity guidelines) to promote physical activity, more recent evidence suggests that individuals can make significant health improvements through making small changes in physical activity behaviour. While meeting national and international physical activity guidelines can optimize one’s health, it is not the minimum level of activity needed to improve health. Conclusions: Engaging in regular physical activity is crucial for successful aging and health in older adults. While it is recommended to meet the Canadian physical activity guidelines, older adults can still make notable health improvements with small changes in physical activity behaviour.
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