29th July 2019
Bristol gets more age-friendly thanks to new older peoples physical activity directory


A new physical activity directory aimed at helping older people in Bristol get active is now available across the city.

It lists more than 200 physical activity and sporting sessions across all neighbourhoods with the theme of being age friendly and inclusive. Most activities are either free or low-cost.

Co-ordinated by Active Ageing Bristol in collaboration with The Care Forum and Well Aware, with funding from Bristol Ageing Better and Bristol Health Partners, the new directory aims to make it easier for older people or their carers to find a way of boosting their health and quality of life.

With Bristol’s population aged 65 or older projected to increase by 20,200 by 2041, the initiative is one of a series aimed at making sure the city is a better place to grow old. In December 2018 Bristol joined the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age Friendly Communities.

Active Ageing Bristol Manager Karen Lloyd, said:

“It’s important that we make it as easy as possible for our older residents to find new ways or return to activities that keep them active and healthy. We all know that physical activity improves sleep and helps manage weight and stress and this is even more important as our population ages.

I think we’ve found something for every taste or fitness level from badminton and tai chi to curling and dancing to tempt less siting through the week and more reasons to get up and get active.”

As an alternative to finding information online, the printed guide will be available through GP surgeries, libraries, community and sports centres and via health professionals or can be downloaded from www.activeageingbristol.co.uk and is based on regularly updated listings at www.wellaware.org.uk. A limited supply of hard copies is also available from Well Aware by calling the free helpline, 0808 808 5252, Monday to Friday.

The launch of the directory coincides with the opening of the NO LIMITS outdoor exhibition - a photographic celebration showing that age is no barrier to active living on College Green from August 1 to 28, as part of a new drive to persuade older people to make bolder keep fit choices.

Titled NO LIMITS, the exhibition uses giant weatherproof frames to showcase around 35 images by Bristol-based Alex Rotas of international champion athletes aged from 55 to 100+ and of locals participating in health and fitness activities as varied as parkrun, Tai Chi and walking sports.

The exhibition is being mounted by Active Ageing Bristol – a collaboration between Bristol Sport Foundation, St Monica Trust and The Anchor Society – with funding from Bristol Health Partners.

Photographer, writer, public speaker and broadcaster Alex Rotas says she hopes the exhibition will challenge widely held misconceptions about what growing older means and encourage fresh thinking on what older people can do to stay fit, healthy, engaged and happy.

She adds: “My pictures of elite older athletes are proof that at 60, 70, 80, 90 and above the human body is capable of a lot more than most of us think. But I recognise we can’t all be record-beaters and medal winners. So, I am also exhibiting images of everyday Bristol older people demonstrating that it's possible to gain physical, mental and social benefits from any level of physical activity.”

The oldest of the champion athletes featured in the NO LIMITS exhibition is athletics all-rounder Man Kaur, still competing internationally at 103.

Another is Bristol-based distance runner and triathlete Anne Dockery; 71 this year and a member of the GB team which topped the medal table at the most recent World Masters Athletics Championships in Spain.

The exhibition coincides with this summer’s publication by Active Ageing Bristol of a directory listing Bristol locations where older people can take part in age-friendly physical activities and builds on Bristol’s recent designation as an Age Friendly City by the World Health Organisation.

The NO LIMITS exhibition opens on College Green on Thursday 1 August and will stay on view 24/7 until Wednesday 28 August.