Supported By the PPF and the Irish Sports Council.
Waterford Sports Partnership, Ireland.
Waterford Sports Partnership - 'Everyone Active'

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Survey of over 50's

Irish people over 50 are now more likely to be active than inactive, according to a new survey from Age & Opportunity's Go for Life and Sport Ireland.
The research, launched today by Minister Michael Ring TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with Special Responsibility for Tourism and Sport, shows that there are 53% of older adults who can be classed as 'active' instead of 'low or not active'. Just over half of those are getting half-an-hour of physical activity five days a week, so they are reaching the national guidelines for adults. Age & Opportunity and Sport Ireland have been tracking the behaviours and attitudes of older people since 2006 and this has been the first time that active older people are in the majority, though the research has been seeing activity levels slowly rising over that time from 39% to 53%.

"The research is great news," says Go for Life manager Mary Harkin, speaking at the launch, "It shows the kind of impact that programmes like Go for Life are having on the lives and health of older people across the country. While the work of Go for Life continues community-by-community with our Physical Activity Leaders providing peer support to get people active, it feels like we've reached a bit of a milestone by becoming the majority”.

The majority of people are becoming healthier and more active simply by increasing their walking speed and making time for a regular walk each day. Apart from walking, the most popular activities are swimming and golf among those over 50. One area that is seeing a notable rise is the popularity of cycling among older people. Since 2011, the numbers on their bikes have risen from 4% to 7%, having passed out activities like dancing and weight training. While this may be due to increases and improvements in cycle routes, to the popularity of cycling among the general population or to other factors, it is expected that there will be an increased number of older people getting up on their bikes.

“At the same time, we can't be complacent” warns Harkin “the research is clear that there are still a lot of people who feel completely excluded from sport and physical activity and that, through the Small Grant Scheme and through our other work, we are trying to empower people in their own communities to get more active and to open the door for other people to take part. What we have seen over the years is that many people want to take part but have been put off by misconceptions about sport. Go for Life shows them that it can be fun and that there's usually tea and a biscuit at the end of it.”

The research, carried out by Perceptive Insight as a survey of 1,000 Irish people over 50, also found that there were inequalities present within the numbers participating. Those aged 50 to 64 were more inclined to be active than those aged 65 and over and that people from more affluent socio-economic backgrounds were more likely to be active than their less well-off neighbours. On a positive note, older women are beginning to catch up with men on participation in sport.
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