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Physical inactivity in mid-life is putting millions at risk of poor health in older age

Source: Centre for ageing better Aug 21




Tackling the post-pandemic fall in physical activity must be a priority for government, as a new report warns that many people in mid and later life do not feel supported to be as active as they need to be.

The report, 'Keep on moving’, examines the motivators and barriers to physical activity for those in mid to later life. Staying independent for longer is a key motivator for many. However, confidence was cited as significant barrier with a number of participants saying they did not use local leisure and gym facilities due to a lack of confidence, or a feeling that they were not aimed at people of their age, body size or shape. These findings emphasise the importance of the fitness and leisure sector creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for people of all ages.

Mid-life is crucial for maintaining activity levels as it's around this age that people start to develop long-term health conditions that need managing or preventing. From the age of 40, adults lose 8% of their muscle mass per decade. Low muscle mass is significantly associated with inability to perform activities of daily living with the prevalence of disability increasing significantly as muscle mass decreases. This is why incorporating strength and balance exercises are particularly important for those in in their 50s and 60s.

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