Physical activity and aging – By Kelsey Harvey

Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gilbrea Student Member, Kelsey Harvey reflects on her experiences at CAG2017

Many informative and interesting presentations, symposiums, workshops, and keynote addresses filled the 46th Annual Scientific & Educational Meeting of the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG).  Given my research interest in physical activity and aging, the oral presentations on this subject made an impression on me. The five presentations were chaired by Dr. Joanie Sims-Gould, who also presented her team’s work on innovative community-based physical activity programs in British Columbia. Similarly, Lora Bruyn Martin, Research Application Specialist, described the knowledge translation and evaluation tools she and her co-author undertook to develop, mobilize, and reinforce a novel initiative to increase physical actively, thus reducing sedentary time, in individuals living in a long-term care residence. Dr. Michelle Silver presented her work with retired Olympic athletes. Dr. Brad Meisner presented on behalf of Ariane Seguin, whose qualitative interviews for her Master’s thesis were situated within the extant literature on older exercisers. Much like the work of Dr. Silver, Seguin’s findings focused on coping with life transitions and changes in functional abilities, but also acknowledged social support as a social determinant of exercise participation and challenging age-based stereotypes regarding physical activity. The final presentation, by Dr. Luisa Pedro on behalf of her team, returned to the implementation of a physical activity intervention in Portugal, which sparked a conversation among presenters and attendees alike on the fit, or lack thereof, of the present physical activity guidelines for older adults.

Questions and debates that remain include:

  • Is vigorous activity appropriate for older adults?
  • Since intensity is not only subjective, but also exists on a continuum, then what constitutes an appropriately high intensity recommendation for older adult exercise?
  • How can the physical activity guidelines be more inclusive of other definitions of physical activity?

While scholars consider and investigate these issues, it is hoped that we will return next year, to CAG 2018 in Vancouver, to further advance this discussion and many more in gerontology and physical activity.

Physical Activity: Oral Presentations VII. Sunday October 21, 2017. Chair: Joanie Sims-Gould



Kelsey was awarded a Gilbrea Travel Award to facilitate her travel to the Canadian Association on Gerontology 2017 conference – ‘Evidence for Action in an Aging World’ held in Winnipeg, MB (October 19-21, 2017).