The EU recognises health-enhancing physical activity for older adults as one of the key policies of Erasmus+ and of the Silver Economy Strategy. The messaging of the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles in later life is widespread, but it is not translating into action itself. Insufficient older adults are exercising to the WHO recommendations for longer active and independent living. Older people can also become socially excluded and more isolated.
The AAC main objective is to create communities for healthy and active older people in 18 fitness centres from 6 European countries, and in different community settings.
In detail the AAC aims to involve ~500 older adults and to have an adherence of 75% at the end of the proposed six months intervention. Family members who are already fitness users will encourage their parents and grandparents to join community-based activities leading into a framework of healthy lifestyles for their long-term participation.
The European fitness sector is one of the key actors capable of raising awareness among inactive older people and is already recognised as the largest participation sport at the European level. A majority of its 64,000 fitness clubs are community based.
The AAC programme will be set-up by the University of Southern Denmark experts and will address behavioural, mental, and socioeconomic barriers to physical activity in later life by proposing a mix of methodologies from already successful projects together with the new piloting based on an innovative intergenerational approach.
There will be a good practice guide (based on the programme impact evaluation) that can be used by other fitness and recreational sport centres around Europe to replicate the methodology. Two types of dissemination events will be organised to exploit the findings with a main conference in Brussels and national seminars involving fitness and recreational sporting bodies in the 6 participating countries.