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About the CCAA

The CCAA is unique in Canada as it promotes physical activity and the well-being of older adults through a combination of basic and applied research, educational resources and community-based programs.  Basic and Applied research activities are the foundation of the CCAA’s community-based physical activity classes for seniors and the leadership training courses for individuals who work with the aging population. Basic research is conducted by researchers and graduate students in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Community Outreach team is responsible for applied research which takes place off campus at the Mount.  

Over 450 London seniors participate in CCAA exercise classes each week. The physical activity class model is based on research conducted at the CCAA and includes cardiovascular, strength, balance and flexibility training. More than 1000 people from across Canada are trained in CCAA leadership training courses each year. These courses are also evidence-based and introduce physical activity programs for seniors across the mobility spectrum.

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The Beginning (Learn more) PDF Reader Required
In 1988, negotiations about the development of a new research centre began between the University of Western Ontario (Western) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London (SJHC). These discussions led to the establishment of the Centre for Activity and Aging (Centre) at the Mount St. Joseph’s site in 1989. The Centre began as a research and community resource centre, affiliated with the Lawson Research Institute of St. Joseph’s Health Centre and the Faculties of Kinesiology and of Medicine and Dentistry at Western. Read the full history here. Top

The Space
The Mount St. Joseph’s site originally housed the research laboratories, offices and exercise facilities for the Centre. The site has since changed ownership and now houses the community outreach team, exercise facilities and applied research facilities. The gymnasium is used for the development of model community physical activity programs and for the training of fitness leaders. The basic research laboratories have moved to the Labatt Health Sciences Building at Western. Top

The Research
Current basic research is focused on studying:

  • The ways in which older individuals differ from young people in their physiological responses to exercise;
  • The physiological limitations to exercise in older adults;
  • The physiological and biochemical causes of muscle fatigue;
  • Properties of muscle in the aged;
  • Cardiovascular function and muscle metabolism;
  • Adaptations with exercise training in older adults and physical activity guidelines. Top

The Community Outreach Team
Shortly after its establishment the Centre received a federal grant to develop exercise and leadership programs for older adults. This funding provided the stimulus for the development of an extensive community outreach team to devise strategies to promote the independence of older adults. These initiatives include evidence-based prototype physical activity programs and leadership training courses for older adults. Top

The Programs
The CCAA offers exercise classes Monday to Friday to approximately 500 members. The average age of these participants is 75, some are as young and 50 and several are in their 90s. Exercise programs at the CCAA include combined fitness classes (cardio and strength training) as well as personal training, strength training, dynamic balance training, lifestyle coaching and the Get Fit for Active Living (exercise and education for beginner senior exercisers). There are also exercise programs tailored specifically for those with osteoporosis, stroke and chronic obstructive lung disease. Top

The Courses
The first evidence-based Seniors’ Fitness Instructors Course (SFIC) was delivered in 1991. Other evidence-based courses followed. In 1994, the first Functional Fitness for Older Adults (FFOA) workshop was delivered and in 1995 the first personal support workers and volunteers were trained in the Home Support Exercise Program (HSEP). In 1995, Centre staff also began training qualified individuals to deliver the Centre’s leadership training courses across the country through the Training for the Trainer program. Top

In the late 1990s the Restorative Care Education Training Course was evaluated and found to be effective in a randomized control trial supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health. This course is now being implemented nationally along with those listed above and a variety of more recent offerings including the Functional Fitness for Adult Day Programs (FFADP) and Post Rehab Exercise for Stroke (PRES). Top

The Here and Now
On September 17, 1996 the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA) was incorporated to oversee the Centre’s national initiatives. Given the Centre’s national agenda the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging took over the responsibilities of the Centre for Activity and Aging in 2000 and established the Centre as a national centre of excellence and qualified as a registered charitable organization. The CCAA is now an important part of the Faculty of Health Sciences and one of the longest running research centres at Western. Top


To develop, encourage and promote an active, healthy lifestyle for Canadian adults that will enhance the dignity of the aging process. Top


  1. to become a high-quality national centre supporting physical activity
    for the aging population.
  2. to become the national coordinating and accreditation institute for
    CCAA's community-based programs and services for the elderly.
  3. to support, encourage and disseminate nationally research into an active
    lifestyle for older adults, and to act as a resource for Health Canada and
    other national organizations.
  4. to establish international alliances and promote an open exchange of
    scientific knowledge, health and community programs to benefit active older
  5. to educate provincial governments, industry and social agencies on the
    benefits of an active aging population.
  6. to be the national data centre for information on activity and aging.



Also from this web page:


Clara Fitzgerald
Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging
Toll Free 1.866.661.1603
Fax 519.661.1612
Email: cfitzge4@uwo.ca



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