Canadians Stepping Up and Being More Active with Age

Dec 01, 2014, 08:00 ET from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare

Despite increasing aches and pains, simple changes can help Canadians 40+ maintain momentum and become role models for youth

TORONTO, Dec. 1, 2014 /CNW/ - It is no secret that Canadian lifestyles have become more sedentary than ever before[i],[ii]  and rising rates of obesity and diabetes show this is taking a toll on our health. [iii], [iv] Encouragingly, a new Canadian survey shows adults 40 and over are changing their habits and staying more active as they age.

According to the Advil® Arthritis Pain Poll, three in five Canadians 40+ (62 per cent) say they regularly participate in physical activities[v] and 82 per cent say it is important for them to be a role model for their children and/or grandchildren when it comes to physical activity.[vi]  In addition, two-thirds of those who have young children or teenagers (63 per cent) say that by being active they have inspired others in their life to become more active.[vii]

"The health benefits of regular physical activity are immeasurable, and it is so important to make time for it at any age, both for ourselves and to set an example for others," says Dr. Jeff Habert, a Toronto-based family physician.  "However, as we get older, keeping active can be challenging and potentially discouraging as our bodies are not as resilient as they once were to the impact of physical activity."

Aches and Pains of Aging

Nine in ten (94 per cent) surveyed said their body responds differently now to physical activity than when they were younger[viii] and another 86 per cent agree that as they age they find it harder for their body to bounce back after physical activity.[ix]  A further 80 per cent express disappointment when joint pain prevents them from participating in physical activities.[x]

"Experiencing some pain is normal, and consistent exercise can really help ease those aches and pains and contribute to the enjoyment of an active lifestyle," says Dr. Habert.  "However, we need to be aware of certain signs that could be more serious.  For example, pain in the joints can be a symptom of mild osteoarthritis and it can occur earlier than you might think."

The survey found 30 per cent of respondents have been diagnosed with or think they have osteoarthritis, and that finding was not just prevalent among those who might be considered "older."  In fact, 20 per cent of those in their 40s reported this, and 29 per cent of those in their 50s did too. [xi]

For those experiencing osteoarthritis-related pain, Dr. Habert recommends following the three Ms to maintain "momentum" in your life and prevent pain from holding you back:

  • Motion: It is easiest to keep an active body active.  Maintain motion throughout your life – be it a brisk daily walk, an afternoon of gardening, or a regular weight workout.  This will allow you to keep your muscles strong and joints in good shape.   Remember that it is always easier to maintain activity when it's already a regular part of your life, rather than having to start a routine from scratch.
  • Maintenance: It is paramount Canadians maintain a healthy weight.  Weight loss is one of the best things you can do to prevent or reduce osteoarthritis pain. Extra weight adds pressure on your joints, which can wear them out faster and lead to osteoarthritis. For those who already have osteoarthritis, reducing weight and added stress on your joints can often mean less pain.
  • Medication: Take medication for pain when needed or advised by your doctor. There is no reason to play through the pain or let it keep you from staying active.  There are many over-the-counter medications that can relieve mild to moderate osteoarthritis pain.  For example, Advil Arthritis Pain has just launched in Canada and it provides fast, long-lasting (up to 8 hours) and effective relief by targeting pain at the site of inflammation. Also, be sure to take your medication as suggested by a pharmacist or physician, and avoid stopping your medication too early, or taking it for too long. 

About Arthritis
More than 4.6 million Canadians aged 15 years and older report having arthritis.[xii] Although many assume arthritis is a disease of the elderly, it can actually start earlier than you'd think – 56 per cent of Canadians with arthritis are under age 65.[xiii]  Osteoarthritis is the most common form, and it is anticipated that within a generation there will be a new diagnosis of osteoarthritis in Canada every 60 seconds.[xiv] Osteoarthritis occurs when natural "wear and tear" causes our bones to rub against each other, leading to pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

Additional Findings from the Advil Arthritis Pain Poll:

  • Sixty-nine per cent of respondents indicate they have more time now to be active so they want to take advantage of that as much as possible[xv]
  • Almost half (46 per cent) said they experience joint pain often after doing physical activity[xvi]
  • Three in 10 (30 per cent) agree they were embarrassed to admit they have arthritis pain because they see it as a sign of aging[xvii]
  • Two in five respondents (40 per cent) think they're too young to have arthritis. This sentiment was particularly prevalent among those in their 40s, with 51 per cent of them agreeing with that[xviii]
  • More than half (52 per cent) of those who have been diagnosed or think they have osteoarthritis said they didn't consider at first the pain they felt in their joints could be arthritis[xix]

About the Advil Arthritis Pain Poll
The poll was completed from September 12, 2014 to September 16, 2014 using Ipsos Reid's online poll, with a sample of 1,009 Canadians aged 40+.  The survey is considered accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


[i] Statistics Canada.  Physical activity of Canadian adults: Accelerometer results from the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. February 2014. Available online at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2011001/article/11396-eng.htm.
[ii
] Canadian Paediatric Society. Healthy active living: Physical activity guidelines for children and adolescents. Paediatr Child Health 2012;17(4):209-10. Available online at: http://www.cps.ca/documents/position/physical-activity-guidelines.
[iii] http://cmajopen.ca/content/2/1/E18.full  Accessed September 25, 2014
[iv] https://www.diabetes.ca/CDA/media/documents/publications-and-newsletters/advocacy-reports/canada-at-the-tipping-point-policy-backgrounder-english.pdf   Accessed September 25 2014
[v] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 2_1
[vi] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 2_3
[vii] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 2_4
[viii] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 6_1
[ix] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 6_2
[x] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 6_3
[xi] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 8
[xii] The Arthritis Society. Arthritis in Canada, Facts & Figures.  March 2014.  Available online at: http://www.arthritis.ca/document.doc?id=925.
[xiii] The Arthritis Society. Arthritis in Canada, Facts & Figures.  March 2014.  Available online at: http://www.arthritis.ca/document.doc?id=925.h
[xiv] The Arthritis Society. Arthritis in Canada, Facts & Figures.  March 2014.  Available online at: http://www.arthritis.ca/document.doc?id=925.
[xv] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 2_5
[xvi] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 7
[xvii] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 9_2
[xviii] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 6_4
[xix] 2014 Advil Arthritis Pain Poll, Table 9

SOURCE Pfizer Consumer Healthcare