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#ISBNPA2019, Keynote, Greet Cardon: Low hanging fruit for optimizing active ageing.

20 June 2019

Presented at #ISBNPA2019, June 5

Chair: Mark Tremblay

Nowadays most people, even in the poorest countries, live longer lives. The theme of this year’s conference “Healthy people on a healthy planet” directly links to active ageing as compressing morbidity in the ageing population is of utmost importance for the planet to be sustainable. With the right active ageing approach ageing offers opportunities, next to important challenges. This keynote will address some physical activity challenges and opportunities in our (super-)aged societies. The fact that people live longer results in a large age range in the older population. To prevent physical, cognitive, mental and social health decline physical activity programs are needed for the full range of the ageing population. A major challenge in our ageing population is tackling the wave of cognitive function decline and dementia. Physical activity is known to improve cognitive function at older age through processes of neuroplasticity. Enriching physical activity interventions with cognitive challenge is found to maximize the neuroplastic properties of the brain that could enhance the potential of prevention and treatment programs for alleviating cognitive decline and also to play an important role in fall prevention. In physical activity programs for the elderly, sufficient cognitive challenge seems even more important to obtain cognitive effects than high doses of intervention sessions. Consequently in order to avoid the decline in quality of life and enhance mental next to physical vigour, program developers and implementers need to cognitively enrich physical activity programs. We can learn from many good practices already out in the field and need to define the most effective and implementable strategies. Furthermore, this keynote will touch on some other merging physical activity topics in older adults, like lifecourse-approaches with intergenerational programs and ageing-friendly neighbourhoods.