The physical activity patterns of older Australians

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Brownie, S 2005, 'The physical activity patterns of older Australians', Australian Journal of Primary Health, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 79-87.

Published version available from: http://doi.org/10.1071/PY05046

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One ofthe aims ofthis study was to examine the relationship between gender, healthprofileand physical activitypatterns ofolder Australians. Using a self-administeredpostal questionnaire, data were obtained from 1,263 Australians (641 males, 622 females), aged 65-98 years, randomly selectedfrom the 2000 Australian Electoral Commission roll. Participants provided general demographic data in addition to information about key health features and selfreported weeklyparticipation in variousphysicalactivities. More than half(55%) ofthe sample averaged at least 30 minutes' exercise most days, excluding gardening and housework. Men participated in a wider range ofphysical activities and were more likely to average at least 30 minutes' exercise most days compared to women. Living arrangements, ethnicity, education and income were important sociological determinants of low, medium, or high levels of exercise participation. Perceivedpoor health, chronic disease, lack ofmotivation and energy, were barriers to achieving regular exercise. Gym training (4%) and tai chi/yoga (2%) were the least popularforms ofexercise, yet weight resistance training and Tai chi are associated with improvements in strength, balance, flexibility and range of motion, and could play an important role in reducing the mOrbidity associated with ageing. GeneralPractitioners are well positioned to help olderAustralians take thefirst steps towards achieving the national target of at least 30 minutes' moderate-intensity activity most days.

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