With an ageing population of over 12 million people over the age of 65, the Office for National Statistics projects that there will be an additional 8.6 million people over the age of 65 by 2070. Despite the known benefits of physical activity, including maintaining independence and reducing the risk of falling or fracturing bones, only 50% of adults aged 75+ complete 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Coupled with preventable long-term conditions, physical activity can help avoid unnecessary social care and we need a concerted effort to provide support and opportunities for physical activity to help older adults maintain independence and lessen the costly burden of social care.

While barriers and challenges experienced by older adults have been identified, understanding the examples of what the sector is currently doing, and older adults’ opinions around how well the current practice caters towards their needs is missing. In order to expand research in this area, it is necessary to understand what is currently working and what can be altered and improved.

To achieve this the ukactive Research Institute are undertaking a research consultation across the fitness and leisure sector. This research is spilt into three key sections.

1. Case study submission: ukactive has called for the submission of case studies from across the sector to understand what the sector is doing to meet the needs of the older population. Case studies include examples, solutions, programmes and commissioning modelling that are in place to support older adults to be active.

2. Older adult review of case studies: Once the case studies have been collated they will be reviewed by the individuals they impact. This will include a group of older adults, selected to best represent individuals from this age group, will be invited to take part in a qualitative research process known as Nominal Group Technique (NGT).

3. Development of recommendations: Recommendations will be developed based on the case studies received, the review of case studies, and qualitative research. Recommendations will be presented in a report to inform policy and practice within the fitness and leisure sector.

This work will be completed in Spring 2021.