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New research shows Australians aren’t taking ageing lying down

Over 50s keep up with active-wear obsessed millennials on the activity stakes*

  •  Baby boomers are active for almost as many hours as 18-24 year olds, averaging 14.07 hours per week compared to 16.25
  • Incidental activity is the secret weapon of 50-64 year olds, averaging 2.49 hours more per week than 18-24 year olds
  • Older Aussies are less likely to let pain get in the way, 39% of the 4 in 5 who experience aches and joint pains1 just getting on with activity

It’s official – older Aussies are just as worthy of stepping-out in active wear as the millennial generation with their overall activity levels virtually matching those who are more than half their age.

New survey findings* released today found baby boomers (50-64 year olds) participate in an average of 14 hours activity per week with 18-24 year olds totalling just two hours more than the baby boomers.

The research, commissioned by the makers of Panadol Osteo and Voltaren, explored how younger and older Australian adults are keeping active, investigating different types of planned and incidental exercise as well as time spent being physically active.

The survey found that, not only are 50-64 year olds keeping up regular levels of exercise and activity, they also feel good with nearly half (47%) stating their fitness and mobility levels are good or excellent. Despite being half their age, the 18-24 year olds aren’t ranking themselves much higher, with just 62% saying theirs was good or excellent.

Dr Bill Sukala, exercise physiologist and nutritionist said: “It’s great that older Australians aren’t taking ageing lying down. Maintaining activity levels as we age is extremely important to health and wellbeing, particularly as the incidence of health issues like obesity and osteoarthritis rise.”

Vacuums and cleaning cloths - new home gym essentials

The results found regular housework - vacuuming, tidying up, making beds and gardening are the exercise friends of the 50+ and the secret to their success. Baby boomers estimated they complete an hour everyday (7.3 hours per week) of general chores and housework - close to double that of their 18-24 counterparts (just 4.8 hours per week).

Vanity vs vitality

When it comes to ‘planned’ exercise the ‘go to’ for the over 50s is walking versus millennials who, unsurprisingly, are more into the gym and running.

While planned exercise is about looking good (56%), a great body (46%) and muscle strength (35%) for the millennials, those aged 50-64 are clearly less into looks and more about flexibility (37%) and keeping the joints moving (55%).

“You don’t need to be wearing lycra or paying gym fees to be active! It’s not about the type of activity but being active overall,” says Dr Sukala.

“The body doesn’t always know age – but it definitely knows neglect – so it comes down to use it or lose it with mobility and movement,” adds Dr Sukala.

Pushing through pain

The findings showed that the older group are particularly tough, taking the ‘no pain no gain mantra’ literally – while one in five of 50-64 year olds surveyed experience strong aches and joint pains, 43% of 60-64 year olds saying they don’t let it impact their activity levels and they just get on with it. On the other hand, 22% of 50-64 year olds say their pain is actually reduced with exercise and activity.

“Movement is essential to maintaining mobility and mobility is important to pain management associated with ailments, like joint pain or osteoarthritis that impact many older Australians and are often associated with not being able to move.

This survey confirms that Aussie baby boomers are embracing the joy of movement and keeping up activity levels, which is great news for their health” says Dr Sukala.


About the research:
The study was conducted by Galaxy Research online between 11-15 November, 2016 among 1,205 Australians. It included 803 50-64 year olds and 402 18-24 year olds. Following completion of interviewing the data was weighted by age, gender and area to reflect the latest ABS population estimates. The survey compared planned exercise (gym, running, boot camp), active play (walking the dog, dancing) and everyday incidental activity (housework, shopping, gardening).

About osteoarthritis:
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting approximately 1 in 12 Australians2, and is a major cause of disability, psychological distress and poor quality of life in the community3. The condition affects the entire joint, including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. It can affect any joint, but occurs most often in the knees, hips, finger joints and big toes4. Osteoarthritis can cause pain, reduced mobility, deformity or body stiffness, affecting day to day function3.

For more information contact Brooke Howard (+61 407 829 209)


  1. Brand, C et al. Management of Osteoarthritis in General Practice in Australia. Arthritis Care & Research, 2014; 66;4:551-558
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: First results, 2011–12
  3. AIHW. A picture of osteoarthritis in Australia. October 2007
  4. Arthritis Australia, Arthritis Information – Osteoarthritis. 2007