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Overcoming Barriers to Being Physically Active for the Older Adult

February 29, 2012 by HealthyFamilies BC

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We all face barriers to physical activity - time constraints, energy levels, boredom and so on.

Seniors might face even more barriers, but there are ways of overcoming these.


Barriers Strategies

Unsafe neighbourhood or traffic 

  • Walk with a partner or friend 
  • Walk in the mall or in the halls of your apartment building 
  • Join a walking group - explore new parks and trails
  • Use a treadmill, stairclimber, or stepclimber 


Difficulty getting places 

  • Take the bus 
  • Car pool 
  • Have someone come to your home 


Unsuitable or uninteresting programs 

  • Check program listings at seniors' and community centres, churches and private fitness clubs 
  • Use a book or video to start your own program 

Too busy providing care for others 

  • When your client or partner is resting, fit in little bits of activity - 5 or 10 minutes at a time. 
  • Make yourself a priority; have a friend or family member come over and take time out for you 

Unsteady on your feet 

  • Participate in activities from a sitting or lying position 
  • Participate in aqua fit classes or do your own pool exercises
  • Have a friend or family member assist and support you 

Stiffness, arthritis, or osteoporosis 

  • Choose walking, aqua fit or specialty classes for people with physical challenges 


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  1. Activity & Lifestyles
  2. Aging Well
  3. Pregnancy & Parenting
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    2. Babies (0-12 months)
    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
    4. Preschool (3-5 years)
    5. Children (6-11 years)
    6. Teens (12-18 years)
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