ParticipACTION, a non-profit group that promotes healthy living, released the first-ever Report Card on Physical Activity for Adults yesterday, giving adults living in Canada a “D” for overall physical activity.
The report stated that even though 83 percent of adults think physical inactivity is a serious health issue, only 16 percent meet the national guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week.
The research shows that 29 percent of adults in Canada fall within the low active lifestyle category and adults 18 to 79 years old are sedentary for almost 10 hours per day.
The research also shows that sedentary time increases with age and adults 65 and older are spending the most time inactive. This is extra concerning as for the first time in Canadian history, adults over the age of 65 make up a larger percentage of our population than those aged 15 and under.
Physical inactivity can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases, cognitive decline, slips and falls, and social isolation. We can’t stop aging, but we can age better with physical activity.
Fortunately, the Report Card is not all negative. 74 percent of adults in Canada say they have strong intentions to be physically active within the next six months. Perhaps they just require a little extra motivation.
As we age, natural changes such as slowed reaction times and decreased muscle and bone strength contribute to an increase in slips and falls. Engaging in activities like strength training or tai chi can help participants meet their weekly activity goals while improving balance, core strength, and stability.
Research shows that being physically active can also help protect against the onset of dementia and slow its progression. Regular brain stimulation along with physical activity can extend our years of strong brain health.
About 20 percent of adults in Canada experience some level of loneliness or isolation. Older adults are at higher risk due to a lack of mobility and shrinking social networks. Staying active, and making time to get active with others helps to build social connections and enhances community engagement.
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