Measures to Reduce Sedentary Behaviour and Encourage Physical Activity in Persons 65 And Older Living at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

To prevent deterioration in physical and mental health and cognitive function that could prejudice the autonomy and independence of persons 65 and older, it is important for them to adopt a physically active lifestyle.

To mitigate the impact of public health measures on physical activity, additional strategies are proposed for the public health network, its partners, and municipalities.

  • For the public health network and its partners:
  • Raise awareness of the importance of being active at home and promote regular physical activity to foster wellness and quality of life and help maintain independence (1–7) and good mental health (8) (e.g., targeted campaigns promoting physical activity, promotion of physical activities all year long).
  • Encourage the reduction of extended sedentary behaviours and of their total duration (e.g., active breaks, walking, housekeeping activities).
  • Support the regular practice of simple, safe, and pleasant exercise (e.g., exercise in the home).
  • For municipalities:
  • Promote active travel by seniors by providing more pedestrian-friendly spaces.
  • Encourage physical activity by seniors in parks and green spaces by providing universal access to attractive infrastructure, in keeping with public health guidelines.
  • Offer an activity program tailored to seniors and to pandemic conditions in collaboration with sports and recreation organizations
André Tourigny
M.D., médecin spécialiste, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
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