Considerations in planning physical activity for older adults in hot climates: A narrative review

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Regular physical activity has multiple health benefits for both the prevention and management of disease, including for older adults. However, additional precautions are needed with ageing given physiological changes and the increasing prevalence of comorbidities. Hot ambient temperatures increase the risks of exercise at any age, but are particularly important given thermoregulatory changes in older people. This narrative review informs planning of physical activity programs for older people living in rural areas with very hot climates for a period of the year. A multi-database search of peer-reviewed literature was undertaken with attention to its relevance to Australia, starting with definitions and standard advice in relation to physical activity programming and the incremental limitations imposed by age, rurality, and extreme heat. The enablers of and barriers to increasing physical activities in older adults and how they can be modified for those living in extreme hot climates is described. We describe multiple considerations in program design to improve safety, adherence and sustaining physical activity, including supervision, simple instructions, provision of reminders, social support, encouraging self-efficacy. Group-based activities may be preferred by some and can accommodate special populations, cultural considerations. Risk management is an important consideration and recommendations are provided to assist program planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1331
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


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