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A new national health programme, 10 Today, has been launched to address physical inactivity in later life, one of the greatest public health challenges in the UK.

10 Today has been inspired by Radio Taiso in Japan, a national daily exercise broadcast that keeps the world’s oldest population active. 10 Today has been produced and led by older people for older people, with trained fitness instructor Terry Keen (72) at the helm. It involves a series of easy, accessible and enjoyable 10-minute broadcasts aired on the radio and YouTube. The exercises can be done almost anywhere and at any time – in a group or alone, standing up or sitting down – and can be adapted to different fitness levels.

England’s largest provider of care and housing for older people, Anchor Hanover, is rolling 10 Today out across its properties so that thousands of residents can reap the rewards of regular exercise. Hundreds of older people are being encouraged to train as 10 Today Champions to help lead public sessions and unite older people in local areas.

Anchor Hanover’s move to introduce 10 Today at its properties is motivated by new polling revealing the urgent need to change the way older people think about exercise. Anchor Hanover’s research found that, while three quarters (76%) of older people wish they were more physically active, one third (34%) say they dread or fear exercise. One third (32%) said they once enjoyed exercise but now dislike it, with half (50%) being so averse they’d rather take on household chores than 10 minutes of exercise.

Terry Keen is an Anchor Hanover resident and designed the 10 Today programme. He told FitPro, “I’m 72 years old and have 11 grandchildren. They keep me fairly busy! I have tried to be active for many years now. But I am not super-fit and I am certainly no athlete. I just realised that, if I wanted to enjoy a quality of life – especially through my later years – with the mobility and strength to take part in things, as opposed to just looking on, I had to keep moving. And so I do, especially with exercises such as these. They are simple, they are fun and you’ll simply feel better!”

Keen added, “The exercises are designed to progressively ease older people into increased movement by focusing on their flexibility, mobility, balance and strength. As an older person myself, I know that it’s so important to keep moving, with the mobility and strength to take part in things, as opposed to just looking on.”

Clifford Beale is in his early 90s and lives at Anchor Hanover’s Hanover Gardens retirement scheme in Gloucestershire. He’s taking part in 10 Today classes with his neighbours at Hanover Gardens. In relation to the programme, he said, “I think it’s important to keep fit; I intend to do it every day. I’ve got 14 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren; it gives you a chance to keep up with them!”

How do you get involved?

10 Today is a landmark collaboration between many partners, including Anchor Hanover, think tank Demos and training provider Revitalyz. 10 Today is backed by National Lottery funding through Sport England. Two local radio stations, Bradford BCB 106.6 FM and CHBN Radio 100.8 FM, will broadcast the 10 Today exercises.

The launch of 10 Today comes as a new report by Anchor Hanover, in association with Demos, highlights the potential consequences to individuals and the NHS if current inactivity levels among our ageing population remain unchanged. The report warns that physical inactivity of older people will cost the NHS more than £1.3bn by 2030. It also highlights the human cost of inactivity in later life, illustrating how inactivity also contributes to cognitive decline, reduced emotional well-being and loneliness.

Sport England’s latest Active Lives Survey data (Nov 2017-2018) shows that, while there has been a rise in the proportion of adults aged 55+ doing more than 30 minutes of sport or physical activity per week, it remains the case that you are more likely to be inactive as you get older.

By taking part in 10 Today three times a week, older people can meet the targets recommended by the Chief Medical Officer in the UK. Better health outcomes can lead to reduced impact of inactivity on the NHS, and a reduction in older people’s depression and dementia by 30%. Strength and balancing exercises, a core component of 10 Today, could also prevent more than a million falls each year*, which are currently the main driver of unplanned hospital visits by older people.

About the Anchor Hannover ‘Active Ageing’ report

Active Ageing (May 2019) is a report by Anchor Hanover in association with Demos.

*Active Ageing’ report, 2019. The UK Chief Medical Officer has summarised the benefits of physical activity among older adults as a series of reduced risks: physical activity can reduce the risk of falls, depression and dementia by 30%. Evidence shows that strength and balancing physical activities can help reduce these risks if undertaken at least two days a week (Gillespie et al, 2009). Taking the CMO estimate of reduced risk, Demos estimates that the right physical activities could prevent over a million falls a year.


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