Exercise Right for Active Ageing

In 2019, a landmark win for ESSA was the welcoming of a $1.838 million grant through the Move it AUS – Better Ageing Grant Program. This significant achievement was not only evident of the growth of the organisation, but also the importance being placed on active ageing and accredited exercise professionals.

ESSA was one of 27 organisations sharing in the $22.9 million invested in the Move it AUS – Better Ageing Grants with its key focus being to help inactive Australians aged 65 and older to move more often and become more socially connected.

The grant was provided to enable ESSA in delivering over 250 discounted group exercise classes for older Australians every week through the Exercise Right for Active Ageing (ERAA) program.

ESSA’s program is ideally placed to reduce the progression of chronic diseases and the risk of falls. It will give older Australians more choices for a longer, healthier life, as increasing numbers of us live to 100 and beyond,” explained the existing Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt on the day of the grant announcement.

Delivering movement to those who needed it the most
With an ageing population and only one quarter of Australians over 65 meeting the national physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes activity per day, the ERAA program supports the Government’s National Sport Plan’s (Sport 2030) focus on movement for life and securing healthier, happier futures for all.

The Better Ageing classes are being run by a university qualified Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) or Accredited Exercise Scientist (AES) and are delivered either at a physical facility or via Telehealth.

The ERAA program aims to deliver affordable, subsidised exercise classes to older Australians over the age of 65 led by university-qualified professionals,” said Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

This program recognises the value of Accredited Exercise Physiologists and Accredited Exercise Scientists in providing evidence-based exercise initiatives. It has been a game changer in accelerating older Australians’ understanding of the role exercise plays in active ageing and maintaining and improving their health and independence.

ERAA Participant, Alice

Alice's story
Here is how weekly exercise through the ERAA program has helped Alice's osteoporosis!

Alice is a vibrant and now-active 69-year-old who was diagnosed with osteoporosis six years ago. During this time, her GP recommended doing some walking and this ‘should be enough’. Alice became an avid hiker, conquering many hiking trials in Spain. Alice saw some excellent results with this increased physical activity, coupled with drug therapy, where she saw an improvement in her bone mineral density by 17%.

However, during this time, Alice’s health journey took a halt when she had to care for her mother (who made it to her 104th birthday!). Consequently, Alice became inactive due to the demands of caring for her loved ones.

After no success joining a group-based gym class, as the exercises were not tailored to her abilities, Alice started working with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist in January of 2020 as part of the Exercise Right for Active Ageing program and has ‘never looked back’!

Alice has reported to be thoroughly enjoying the structured activity, alongside doing her usual gardening, family time with the grandchildren and travels. Alice loved structured exercise so much after joining the program, she decided to give an osteoporosis-specific, heavy weights class a try.

"The instructors are just so wonderful and really know how to tailor the exercises and make it more relatable to me," explains Alice.
The ERAA program in the media
‘Exercise & Sports Science Australia project features exercise classes via telehealth' in Musculoskeletal Australia MSK News, a fortnightly newsletter for people with musculoskeletal conditions (published online October, 2019)

‘Exercise classes via telehealth’ in Partyline, the online magazine of the National Rural Health Alliance, the peak body working to improve health and well-being in rural and remote Australia (published online 2 December, 2019)

‘Initiative targets retirement village, community-dwelling seniors’ in Australian Ageing Agenda, a news website for people who work in or around the broad aged services and retirement living sectors (published online 13 December, 2019)

‘Grant for affordable group exercise program extended’ in Australian Ageing Agenda (published online 3 December, 2020)

‘National exercise project extended for another year’ in Partyline (published online 10 December, 2020)

If you'd like to find an ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist offering subsidised “Better Ageing Classes” at selected locations around Australia, visit the Exercise Right online search function today.

Click here

Supporting health through exercise for 30 years 

To celebrate 30 years of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), we are reflecting on 30 stories which commemorate the profound impact the exercise and sports science industry and its professionals have had on our communities, and how they have benefited the health landscape in Australia.

Click here to read more like this one