Retirees walk the talk

Last Updated: November 15, 2021 This post was written by Clive Price

Many retirees will choose not to put their feet up – but become more physically active and embrace ‘healthy ageing’.

That’s the conclusion of two recent studies by the Centre for Ageing Better – one on physical inactivity, Keep On Moving – and one on active travel, Best Foot Forward.

‘Health, fitness and wellbeing were seen as clear benefits’

‘Both found retirement was a period of life in which many people became more physically active,’ said Nick Cavill, from Cavill Associates and School of Policy Studies, University of Bristol.

Insights from these surveys among 50-70 year-olds will provide policy makers and stakeholders with avenues for further exploration. In a guest blog reflecting on both sets of findings, Nick pointed to ‘common ground’ on factors that might motivate people to become more active.

‘Both projects found people enjoyed being out of doors, exploring nature or the local community and environment, and this often helped to get them out of the house,’ he wrote on the Centre’s website.

‘Both projects reported that health, fitness and wellbeing were seen as clear benefits, with the physical activity project exploring in some depth how people hoped keeping active would enhance their ability to live independent lives and not “end up” being disabled or reliant on others.’

There were also differences across the two studies. ‘While they both found many psychological or social barriers to being active – with some people in the physical activity research simply declaring themselves “not the sporty type” – the active travel research identified specific physical barriers to active travel,’ said Nick.

‘Many would not consider cycling as the roads were not safe’

‘Most notably, many people reported they could not walk or cycle for transport as the distances to destinations were too far – and many would not consider cycling as the roads were not safe and cycling paths inadequate.

‘But it also seems these issues were bound up in deeper cultural belief systems about the importance of the car – some people even said they didn’t want to be seen walking as people would assume they couldn’t afford a car.’

Supernumerary minister and retired GP Revd Brenda Mosedale promoted walking, in the summer 2020 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots. ‘Walking gives time to think, reflect, sometimes just time and space, even if you need assistance of some kind,’ said Brenda.

‘It’s good to talk, but it’s also good to walk alongside someone quietly, just knowing they are there or, if you are on your own, knowing others have walked that way before you.’ (Photo: Visual Stories || Micheile on Unsplash)