Health problems and work preventing middle-aged people getting fit

PUBLISHED: 15:50 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 13 August 2019

Catton parkrun in Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher

Catton parkrun in Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Health problems are the biggest obstacles preventing middle-aged people from getting active, a report has found.

Dorian White, 62, from Norwich, who took up walking and cycling in his late 50s. Picture: DORIAN WHITEDorian White, 62, from Norwich, who took up walking and cycling in his late 50s. Picture: DORIAN WHITE

The Physical Activity in Retirement Transitions Study (PARTs), carried out by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Active Norfolk, surveyed more than 1,000 Norfolk residents aged over 55 from June-October 2018.

It found the most common barrier in people aged 55-75 doing physical activity was health with 24pc of respondents saying that was an issue.

The study, funded by Sport England, reported that musculoskeletal pain and decreasing energy levels were the main health problems.

The next highest issue preventing people from taking part in any form of exercise was work commitments, including time and energy (15pc of survey respondents), and lack of time or convenience of exercise sessions (11pc).

Lead researcher Dr Charlotte Salter, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "In order to enjoy a fit and healthy retirement, a really key thing is that people need to maintain their physical fitness through their fifties and beyond."

Personal trainer Imogen Clarke, 27, who founded Inspire Personal Training Studio in Norwich, said: "It is about finding the right exercise for you."

Miss Clarke, who has clients in their 50s, 60s and 70s, said being active gave people confidence.

She added that gyms and fitness centres had a role to play in attracting people over 55 to exercise and that some were offering specialised sessions.

Dorian White, 62, from Gertrude Road in Norwich, who has lost over six stone over five years by walking, cycling and taking up Slimming World, said it was easy to remain sedentary.

Mr White, a retired teacher who weighed over 23 stone five years ago said: "It is about taking small steps."

He added before the weightloss he had Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol but now he had prediabetes, meaning he takes one tablet a day rather than 12.

Mr White said he used to go to the gym which he described as superb.

"I'm fitter now compared to when I was 40. It has made a huge difference."

Dan Goodwin, co-event director of Catton parkrun in Norwich, added about a quarter of people registered at the free weekly 5K timed run, walk or jog were aged over 55.

He said there were no barriers at parkrun, which was for everyone.

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