Physical inactivity in later life to cost the NHS more than £1.3bn by 2030
A diverse range of organisations has launched an innovative pilot to address physical inactivity in later life, one of the greatest public health challenges facing the country.
The launch comes as a new report highlights the potential consequences to individuals and the NHS if current inactivity levels amongst older people remain unchanged.
The report by England’s largest provider of care and housing for older people, Anchor Hanover, in association with the think tank Demos, warns that physical inactivity of older people will cost the NHS more than £1.3bn by 2030. The report also highlights the human cost of inactivity in later life, illustrating how inactivity not only contributes to poorer physical health, but also cognitive decline, reduced emotional wellbeing and loneliness.
10 Today has been inspired by Radio Taiso in Japan, an established and evidence based national daily exercise broadcast on Japanese radio. 10 Today has been produced and led by older people for older people, and will be broadcast on the radio and online. It provides a series of easy, accessible and enjoyable 10-minute broadcasts, which can be done almost anywhere and at any time, in a group or alone, standing up or sitting down, and which can be adapted to different fitness levels. 10 Today aims to increase physical activity amongst older people across the country, helping to reduce social isolation and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of participants – all starting with 10 minutes of exercise.
Sport England's latest Active Lives Survey data (Nov 2017-2018) shows that whilst in the past 12 months there has been a rise in the proportion of adults aged 55+ doing more than 30 minutes of sport or physical activity per week, it still remains the case that you are more likely to become inactive as you get older.
However, getting older doesn't have to mean slowing down, and many people just need the right opportunity and support to feel capable to do more physical activity. Indeed, new polling from Anchor Hanover found that three quarters (76%) of older people wish they were more physically active.
By taking part in 10 Today three times a week, older people can meet the 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a week target recommended by the Chief Medical Officer in the UK physical activity guidelines. By meeting this target, health outcomes for older people can be drastically improved, thereby reducing the impact of inactivity on the NHS. Physical activity among older people can reduce falls, depression and dementia by 30%. Strength and balancing exercises, a core component of 10 Today, could prevent more than a million falls each year*, which are currently the main driver of unplanned hospital visits by older people.
The sessions will be broadcast free online, on YouTube and across two local radio stations, Bradford BCB 106.6 FM and CHBN Radio 100.8 FM. 10 Today will be broadcast for six months, and after the pilot there will be a robust evaluation to understand the impact on physical and mental wellbeing as well as loneliness.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover, says: “Inactivity in later life is an urgent issue that cannot be overlooked any longer. Everyone should have a chance to live life to the full, regardless of age. It’s imperative that our older generations are able to exercise in a way that suits their needs, to improve their wellbeing and reduce strain on the NHS, which is a lifeline for so many. We’re proud to have many of our customers and colleagues across Anchor Hanover leading the way and embracing the significant benefits of 10 Today.”
Terry Keen, 72, is an Anchor Hanover resident and qualified fitness instructor, and designed the 10 Today programme. He says: “Working on the 10 Today programme, especially with Demos and Anchor Hanover, has been very exciting and so worthwhile. The exercises are designed to progressively ease older people into increased movement by focusing on their flexibility, mobility, balance and strength. As an older person myself I know that it's so important to keep moving, with the mobility and strength to take part in things, as opposed to just looking on. And this is what 10 Today is all about, trying to inspire others to move more and simply feel better!”
Mike Diaper, Executive Director for Tackling Inactivity at Sport England, said: “Maintaining an active lifestyle as you grow older delivers massive health benefits. While we have seen more older adults getting active than ever before, there are still too many who aren’t doing 30 minutes of activity a week. All too often it can feel like the barriers to getting active grow as we age. However, even small changes make a real difference.
“That’s why we are investing £10 million of National Lottery funding into over 20 projects, like 10 Today, that support innovative and experimental approaches to support older people to get and stay active in a way that’s convenient, accessible and fun for them. It’s not just about the physical benefits as this project aims to bring people together to reduce loneliness, strengthen mental health and resilience to enable more adults to lead happier and healthier lives.”
Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Demos, says: “We are incredibly excited to be launching this new public health initiative to tackle inactivity among older people. Our research demonstrates the immense social and economic impact this inactivity has on society. Designed by older people for older people, this practical pilot will empower individuals to lead more active lives and address one of the country’s greatest health challenges.”
For more information, please visit: www.10today.co.uk
To watch or listen to the 10 Today workouts, please visit: www.10today.co.uk/tune-in
To find out how you can become a 10 Today champion, please visit: www.10today.co.uk/heroes