~Nation's heart charity launches physical activity toolkit~
Primary Care Trusts across the UK were given a new tool in the fight against physical inactivity today. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) launched its Active for Later Life toolkit, which urges PCTs to help people keep physically active as they get older.
People who take regular physical activity have twice the protection against coronary heart disease as those who are inactive (1). It also offers a host of other health and social benefits. Yet only a third of UK 50-64 year olds take the minimum recommendation of 30 minutes moderate physical activity on five days a week. And it gets worse as people get older with only 6% of 65-84 year olds in England reaching their target amount (2).
The Active for Later Life toolkit is designed for any organisation, such as Primary Care Trusts, local authorities, fitness centres, nursing homes or businesses, that wish to promote physical activity to older people in their local area.
Suggestions include the promotion of community projects like Green Gyms (outdoor conservation groups who use gardening to keep active), fitting benches on pleasant walking routes - with backs and in the shade - for 'pit stop' rests, initiating new local exercises classes tailored for older people, and offering pre-retirement education programmes.
Maura Gillespie, Head of Policy & Public Affairs at the BHF says: "It's vital that we keep moving as we age. Although people should take responsibility for their own health, it is also important that they have the help and resources in their area to help them keep fit. This step-by-step guide makes it easy for PCTs to ensure they are doing their bit. We urge them to use it to make a difference to people in their area."
Active for Later Life explains:
Why it's important to encourage our ageing population to be active in later life
How to plan, implement and give continuity to an activity programme
Working papers, with specific examples such as promoting and marketing physical
activity to older people
Putting plans into practice
Information directory of useful associations, websites, resources and equipment suppliers
Active for Later Life is part of the BHF's 30 a Day campaign which was launched in April. The campaign aims to encourage people to keep active in later life by getting 30 minutes of moderate activity every day, in any way they like, from gardening to salsa dancing.
As part of the campaign, over 2000 billboard posters were put up across the UK depicting three fun images of older people 'mixing and matching' every-day ways to keep fit. The charity received almost 40,000 requests for an action pack and there have been 20,000 visits to the campaign website. Over 100 MPs have given their support to the campaign.
For more information, or to order the Active for Later Life toolkit, visit bhf.org.uk/30aday and go to the 'about our campaign' page.