Recent statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that just over 59% of the U.S. population 65 and over didn’t meet muscle strengthening or aerobic exercise recommendations for physical activity. A team of researchers decided to examine the issue more closely. In interviews conducted for the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) among people 65 and older who lived in the community studied, 5,247 women and men were asked to name their favorite activities.
The most frequently mentioned were walking/jogging; outdoor maintenance; playing sports; reading; and “other” physical activity. With the exception of reading, all of the top five were physical activities.
These findings are encouraging. Exercising regularly is one of the key fall prevention messages of NFPA’s Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults. Statistics show that 30 percent of people age 65 and older are involved in falls each year; some of these falls are fatal while others are permanently disabling.
Keeping in mind the NHATS findings, public educators and others implementing the Remembering When program in their communities can know that a vast number of older adults will be receptive to their suggestions to step up the physical activity.