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Boomers Get Moving!

Boomers Get Moving!

I was always under the impression that everyone knew how important it was to keep active in order to maintain our health – especially as we age – but it looks like I was wrong.  For some reason as Canadians we don’t seem to be getting the message.

In a study conducted by Statistics Canada, they confirmed that we are living a very sedentary lifestyle.  Statistics Canada found that the total average daily sedentary time for adults per day is 575 minutes (9.6 hours) for men and 585 minutes (9.8 hours) for women.

All this sitting and resting is not good for us.  A very recent study just published this year found that sitting and resting too much for older women has a higher risk of early death and the Canadian Cancer Society has published that a sedentary lifestyle can be a significant health risk.  Not only can it contribute to obesity, but it can also lead to other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and cancer.

What is really interesting is that Canadian Baby Boomers have big plans for our later years however it seems that we have not necessarily made the connection that how well we take care of our health today will have an impact on our lives later.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s 2013 Report on the Health of Canadians, they stated that more than a quarter of Canadian Boomers are not concerned about their health in later life and that three quarters are not aware that lifestyle changes can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.  They also warn that if we don’t take immediate action to improve our overall health now that we are at risk of living our last years in sickness, disability and immobility.

This situation has all the makings for a perfect storm.  We have an aging and inactive population combined with a challenged healthcare system.  With approximately 9.6 million Canadian Baby Boomers (representing about 29% of the population),  we really need to get focused on healthy aging and illness prevention today in order to stop the potential tsunami of health issues that will hit us if we don’t get moving (pardon the pun).A couple senior asian talking and exercising at a park

So what can we do?  The first thing that jumped to my mind was we really need to raise awareness of this issue.  If the Heart and Stroke Foundation is correct and one quarter of Canadian Baby Boomers are not concerned about the state of their health when they are older and three quarters are not even aware that lifestyle changes can reduce their risks then maybe we should start by helping Canadian Boomers become more aware.

As a society we really need to put some energy behind getting the message out that a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy and if Baby Boomers want to live the lifestyle that they hope for in later years and we don’t want to collapse our healthcare system with an onslaught of healthcare issues, we have to get this information shared and get programs put in place now to support people in the prevention of future health issues rather than only dealing with them after they happen.

What do you think?  What would you suggest?  I would love to hear your thoughts…. 

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