Community-based seniors’ services provide a broad range of programming to support physical activity including exercise classes, dance programs, walking/hiking groups, yoga, and sport activities. Many of these programs are modified or offer modifications for seniors with functional limitations. In addition to providing physical activity programs, community-based seniors’ services play a role in promoting physical activity for seniors.
Research clearly shows that physical activity is good for one’s health, even in our advanced age, yet only 12% of Canadians aged 60-79 are meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. In fact, being physically active is key to managing and preventing of some of the most common chronic diseases and health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, arthritis, and stroke. In Canada, physically inactive seniors have significantly higher rates of health resource use, over 2.5 times the health care costs compared with active seniors. This results in approximately $5.6 billion in additional costs to the healthcare system each year.
There are a wide number of effective physical activity programs offered by community-based seniors’ services that we could highlight. We chose to focus on programs where partnerships have been created between the municipality, the healthcare system and non-profits. These partnerships make it possible to support a broader group of seniors, many of whom are socially isolated and/or have specific mobility and health challenges.
Profiles and Summaries of Physical Activity Programs
Program Profile: On Track (City of Kamloops and Interior Health)
The On Track program, offered through a partnership between City of Kamloops and Interior Health, is an example of a program designed to support individuals diagnosed with a chronic illness to increase their participation in physical activities and receive the other supports they need to better manage their chronic health condition. Read the full profile here.
Program Profile: Choose to Move (Active Aging Research Team)
Choose to Move is a province-wide individualized coaching program offered by the Active Aging Research Team (AART) at Centre for Hip Health and Mobility (CHHM), in partnership with British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) and YMCA of Greater Vancouver (YMCA) to encourage and support seniors who are currently inactive, to become more physically active and socially engaged. Read the full profile here.
 Statistics Canada. (2015). Directly measured physical activity of adults, 2012 and 2013. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2015001/article/14135-eng.htm
 Health Canada. (2002). Healthy Aging: Physical Activity and Older Adults. Retrieved from http://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection/H39-612-2002-4E.pdf
 Woolcott, J. C., Ashe, M. C., Miller, W. C., Shi, P., & Marra, C. A. (2010). Does physical activity reduce seniors’ need for healthcare?: a study of 24 281 Canadians. British Journal Of Sports Medicine, 44(12), 902-904.