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Overcoming Barriers to Being Physically Active for the Older Adult

older adult woman stretching on yoga mat

We all face barriers to physical activity - time constraints, energy levels, boredom and so on.

Seniors might face even more barriers, but there are ways of overcoming these.

Barriers Strategies
Unsafe neighbourhood or traffic
  • Walk with a partner or friend
  • Walk in the mall or in the halls of your apartment building
  • Join a walking group - explore new parks and trails
  • Use a treadmill, stairclimber, or stepclimber
Difficulty getting places
  • Take the bus
  • Car pool
  • Have someone come to your home
Unsuitable or uninteresting programs
  • Check program listings at seniors' and community centres, churches and private fitness clubs
  • Use a book or video to start your own program
Too busy providing care for others
  • When your client or partner is resting, fit in little bits of activity - 5 or 10 minutes at a time.
  • Make yourself a priority; have a friend or family member come over and take time out for you
Unsteady on your feet
  • Participate in activities from a sitting or lying position
  • Participate in aqua fit classes or do your own pool exercises
  • Have a friend or family member assist and support you
Stiffness, arthritis, or osteoporosis
  • Choose walking, aqua fit or specialty classes for people with physical challenges


Canada's Physical Activity Guide for Older Adults
Learn more at Seniors BC

Last Updated: February 29, 2012