Active Aging Articles   International Council on Active Aging

Increasing Activity Saves Money

Increasing physical activity could reduce direct medical costs by $77 billion annually. Inactive adults have significantly higher direct medical costs than active adults. Costs associated with physical inactivity increase with age, especially for women. 95% of all health care spending among adults 65+ is for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, cancer and arthritis. Fall-related injuries among older people cost more than $20 billion each year. By 2020, total cost is projected to reach $32.4 billion.

Source: International Council on Active Aging

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What is active aging?

The concept of active aging can be summed up in the phrase “engaged in life.” The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) uses active aging to describe individuals and populations who live life as fully as possible within the dimensions of wellness (emotional, vocational, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social).

While physical activity is an important component of active aging, it is only one component. Fortunately, physical activity positively influences all of life’s areas by improving physical function and mental skills, improving outlooks, offering social contact and better preparing us overall for work and home.

The definitions of aging concepts are still in flux. This variation presents a challenge for researchers who are trying to find evidence to support programs and policies. Terminology can overlap or be ill-defined. Nonetheless, the following terms are increasingly used in the professional and consumer literature:

Active aging is defined by the World Health Organization as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance the quality of life as people age.” WHO explains that active aging allows people to participate in society as fully as possible according to their desires and needs. For example, a person with a chronic illness can still participate and live actively in other areas of life.

Healthy aging is minimally defined as the absence of disease and more fully explained as “a lifelong process optimizing opportunities for improving and preserving health and physical, social and mental wellness, independence, quality of life and enhancing successful life-course transitions” by Health Canada.

Successful aging is described by Rowe and Kahn, authors of Successful Aging, as living with a low probability of disease or disability, maintaining cognitive and physical function and staying actively engaged in life.

ICAA’s definition of active aging incorporates all these concepts, and links them to the parallel wellness dimensions.

Source: International Council on Active Aging

SCIFIT is a proud Sponsor and Preferred Vendor of the International Council on Active Aging


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