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Sport Australia grant to lift exercise among seniors

A new program managed by Sport Australia was recently launched, aimed at encouraging Australians aged 65 and over to be more active.

The Move It Aus – Better Ageing grants program was spearheaded by Lisa Nugara, Sport Australia’s director of participation and pathway design.

Nugara acknowledged that as people age their choice of physical activities alter too, with over 65s leaning more towards recreational activities than sport.

She recommended seniors check with a GP about their physical health, and once they have the all clear, work with their body to support their ability and interests.

“Understand what your body’s ready for, what you enjoy and aim for a lower impact version of the sport,” Nugara said. “Modify how you do something by making it less active, so instead of swimming laps move across the pool.”

She said nurses and aged care facilities should encourage people to go at their pace, and be innovative as this program encourages confidence – not just surrounding sport but activities like walking or playing bowls.

“Have fun, meet new friends and connect with people. It’s also about the social benefits that come along with it,” she said.

Sport Australia chief executive Kate Palmer said the $22.9 million program will address the nation’s shifting dynamic and encourages providers to focus on empowering older Australians to become more active.

“Australia’s demographics are shifting and while that presents a challenge in broader health terms, there’s a great chance for us as a sport industry to make a positive difference to the lives of older Australians through physical activity,” Palmer said.

Sport Australia’s AusPlay research showed that although overall physical activity levels drop as we age, the main motivations to be active remain almost the same.

The main motivations for physical activity among Australians 65-and-over are: physical health and fitness (77.4 per cent), fun (39.4 per cent) and social reasons (26.1 per cent).

Nugara joined us to unpack what the program is about.

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