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New research at Western aims to combat sedentary living in the elderly

gfal-sasc-inviteIn response to the high rates of inactivity in the aging population, researchers at Western University’s Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA) are re-tooling their Get Fit for Active Living (GFAL) program through a partnership with London-based Sykes Assistance Services Corporation (SASC). The GFAL program, which was originally developed in 2000, aims to get inactive older adults moving, through an 8-week exercise and education program (learn more here).

An evaluation of the original findings from GFAL showed that 60% of participants still adhered to regular group exercise one year after completion of the program. The collaboration with SASC’s aims to further improve exercise adherence by offering over-the-phone motivational coaching sessions and will allow researchers to determine if seniors are more likely to stay engaged in an exercise program when phone-based motivational coaching supplements the traditional exercise group.

These insights also could provide the fitness industry with a valuable tool for keeping clients coming through their doors on a regular basis. It will also help the exerciser to stay motivated and achieve their fitness goals.

Among adults 55 and over, only 34% of men and 29% of women are physically active. Exercise is the key variable in preventing or delaying the onset of many ailments associated with aging, such as risk of falling, functional decline, and many chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The health benefits individuals receive from engaging in even a moderate amount of physical activity range from improving their ability to sustain basic activities of daily living to enriched mental health status. Much of the age related deterioration of the body’s structures and functions appears to be the result of reduced physical activity rather than the aging process itself. The challenge for older adults is changing from sedentary habits to living a more physically active, healthy lifestyle.

Members of the London community will be given the opportunity to take part in this project which is set to launch in October 2012. The program is open to 150 adults, aged 50 and over. These individuals will receive complementary registration in the GFAL program and professional over-the-phone coaching from SASC. They will be tracked by their coach for one year following the start of the program. Final results of the project will be available in May 2014.     

For more information about the GFAL-SASC project contact Nazia Bhatti, CCAA Project Coordinator, at 519-661-2059 or To participate in the study please call 1-800-246-5420.



Nazia Bhatti                                                                                                           

Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging



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Clara Fitzgerald
Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging
Phone 519.661.1603
Fax 519.661.1612



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