Age Bold, Inc. (Bold) has announced the findings of its latest survey revealing the current state of exercise, health, and aging among older adults nationwide.
Previous research has shown physical activity can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, in addition to many other benefits for healthy aging overall. Unfortunately, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, older Americans have become less physically active. As May is both Mental Health Awareness Month and Older Americans Month, Bold set out to analyze responses from over 1,000 survey respondents to understand current trends at the intersection of aging, exercise, health.
The 15-question online survey, conducted from April 18-19, 2022, paneled adults ages 50+ to self-report their overall health, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences aging. Key takeaways from the survey include:
- Exercise Motivations and Habits Shift After 65
- Amongst respondents 50-64 “weight loss” was the most common reason for exercise, but for respondents 65 and older, “Mobility and Balance” and “Heart Health” were more common.
- Respondents 76-85+ report exercising every day more frequently than those ages 50-75.
- Exercise Linked to Improved Overall Health
- Those who exercise 5 or more times a week were more likely to describe their mental health and physical health as very good.
- Those who exercise 3 or more times a week report mental health being a motivation for why they exercise, while those who exercise less were less likely to list mental health as a reason.
- Experience of Ageism Associated with Poorer Mental Health
- Individuals who reported their mental health as poor or fair were more likely to report experiencing ageism, particularly with friends, family, and at the doctor.
- Those who reported very good mental health most frequently reported having never experienced ageism.
- Opportunity for Online Services to Engage Less Active Individuals
- Individuals who exercise less than once a week were the least comfortable going to a public gym.
- Those who exercise less than 5 times a week were more open to considering virtual or online fitness classes.
- Bridging the Gap Between Health Education and Action
- Respondents know exercise will help them age better, but this isn’t always put into practice.
- Those who exercise regularly report being more motivated to take actions to age better than those who exercise less.
- Notable Gender Differences
- Men are less likely to seek out advice on healthy aging than women are.
- Men report feeling more comfortable at public gyms than women.