A quarter of over-50s are less active than before the pandemic

18 March 2022

A report into the health of older adults during Covid-19 has found that 26% of over-50s are doing less exercise than before the pandemic. This was particularly acute in those over 75.

Women’s physical activity levels were even more affected than men’s. The top reasons given for doing less activity were lack of motivation (44%), and being out of the habit of exercising or socialising in person (42%).

The report, by the Physiological Society and Centre for Ageing Better, is calling for public health agencies across the UK to launch a national post-pandemic resilience programme.

The vision is to create a joined-up system of support for over-50s with tailored advice and guidance on improving health post-pandemic, both to restore pre-Covid activity levels and encourage more in the long term.

Different age groups preferred different ways to help them increase their activity, with 50- to 59-year-olds preferring activity monitors, 60- to 74-year-olds preferring social activity groups and those aged 75+ preferring tailored advice from a healthcare professional.

Report co-chair Professor Paul Greenhaff  said: ‘Given the role of physical activity in maintaining health, this [survey result] is a cause for real concern and it is likely that the health of older adults will have diminished as a direct consequence of the restrictions necessary to protect people from Covid-19.’

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