Key messages

  • For older Victorians, physical activity reduces the risks or delays the progression of many chronic diseases. Exercise also improves mental wellbeing and can help older people stay independent.
  • Guidelines suggest older people do 30 minutes of exercise every day, such as walking, swimming, yoga, dancing, tai chi, climbing stairs.
  • Group activities are a good way to engage older people. The Seniors Online Activities Directory has local activities.
  • Seniors Card holders can get discounts at many sport, leisure and recreation clubs and centres, and gyms.
  • The Victorian Active Ageing Partnership (VAAP) aims to increase opportunities for older Victorians to participate in physical activity.

Why physical activity is important

Physical activity improves the health and wellbeing of older people. Being physically active reduces the risk (or delays the progression) of chronic diseases, some cancers and some forms of dementia. Regular physical activity also improves mental health, maintains muscle strength and flexibility, reduces the risk or impact of falls, and helps older people to stay independent. Even a few days of not being active can lead to some physical decline, especially in older people. Social connection, fun and laughter are other benefits.

What’s recommended

Physical activity guidelines suggest older people do 30 minutes of medium intensity exercise every day. Doing three lots of 10 minutes is fine.

Older Victorians should vary their activities, and include exercises to improve:

  • heart and lung fitness - water exercises, swimming, dancing, fast walking and cycling

  • muscle strength and bone density - lifting and carrying weights, climbing stairs, squats, side leg raises

  • balance - reaching to the front and to the side, balancing on one foot or toes with a chair nearby for support, tai chi

  • flexibility - yoga, stretching exercises.

Group activities

Encouraging older Victorians to join group, team or community activities is valuable, especially people who feel uncertain about exercising alone. Lawn bowls, golf, walking groups and exercises classes are ideal. The Seniors Online Activities Directory has local activities.

Seniors Card holders can get discounts at many sport, leisure and recreation clubs and centres, and gyms.

Victorian Active Ageing Partnership

The Victorian Active Ageing Partnership (VAAP), which starts in October 2015, aims to increase opportunities for older Victorians to participate in physical activity. VAAP particularly targets older Victorians who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, isolated or lonely.

VAAP will focus on developing:
  • partnerships
  • workforce and organisational capacity
  • pathways to engage older Victorians.