ENJOY

Active ageing in the outdoors for older people: working together for a healthier world

ENJOY promotes public health by combining built environment change and physical activity promotion intervention. Through our collaborative framework we aim to address the need for more age-friendly active outdoor spaces that provide opportunities for older people to engage in safe physical and social activities.

Creating inclusive and accessible outdoor environments that encourage and provide opportunities for older adults to engage in physical activity and social interaction is important for healthy ageing.

Only 25% of older people in Australia meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. With higher sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity reported among older people, creating opportunities for older people to engage in outdoor physical activity is important and requires commitment from the community and local governments.

The National Ageing Research Institute in partnership with several local governments, government bodies and stakeholders have been working together to create age-friendly outdoor spaces for older people to engage in physical and social activities for healthier and liveable cities and communities in Victoria.

The design of outdoor public spaces, including parks, leisure spaces and outdoor exercise equipment should be inclusive of all ages and abilities. We have provided some practical recommendations and suggestions for the design of age friendly outdoor spaces.

For further details please contact the project leader Professor Pazit Levinger.

The ENJOY project provides a unique opportunity for outdoor physical and social activities, tailored to the needs of older people.

The ENJOY research project is a partnership between the National Ageing Research Institute and Whittlesea City Council, Wyndham City Council, Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria and Gandel Philanthropy.

The ENJOY project evaluates the effects of sustained engagement in physical activity on mental health and physical outcomes through the use of a community-based novel outdoor physical activity program for older people - the Seniors Exercise Park.

The project provides a unique opportunity for outdoor physical activity that is tailored to the needs of older people, who are an at-risk group for sedentary-related illnesses. It also facilitates social connection and community engagement, while supporting mental health.

Results from the ENJOY project suggest that the Seniors Exercise Park may be an effective way of improving older people’s physical function and wellbeing. It can also be an important investment in public health infrastructure that promotes physical activity for older people.

Achievements

The ENJOY project supports healthy and active ageing in the community and is featured on the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design Website (HAbD).

The ENJOY project was a finalist in the Promoting Health Through Physical Activity and Sport Category in the 2019 VicHealth Awards.

Research Support

Gandel Philanthropy, State Trustees Foundation of Australia, The Brockhoff Foundation.

Relevant research publications

Levinger P, Panisset M, Dunn J, Haines T, Dow B, Batchelor F, Biddle S, Duque G, Hill KD: Exercise interveNtion outdoor proJect in the cOmmunitY for older people – Results from the ENJOY Senior Exercise Park project translation research in the community. BMC Geriatric 2020, 20:446.

Levinger P; Panisset M; Dunn J; Haines T; Dow B; Batchelor F; Biddle S; Duque G; Hill K. The ENJOY project – usage and factors to support adherence and physical activity participation. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine 2021, 6 (3): 1-6

Levinger P; Dunn J; Panisset M; Dow B; Batchelor F; Biddle S; Duque G; Hill K. Challenges and lessons learnt from the ENJOY project: recommendations for future collaborative research implementation framework with local governments for improving the environment to promote physical activity for older people. BMC Public Health 2021, 21:1192

Levinger P; Panisset M; Dunn J; Haines T; Dow B; Batchelor F; Biddle S; Duque G; Hill K. Exercise interveNtion outdoor proJect in the cOmmunitY for older people – the ENJOY senior Exercise Park project translation research protocol. BMC Public Health, 2019 19:933

Levinger P, Sales M, Polman R, Haines T, Dow B, Biddle SJH, Duque G, Hill KD: Outdoor physical activity for older people-the senior exercise park: Current research, challenges and future directions. Health Promot J Austr 2018:1-7.

Sales M, Polman R, Hill KD, Levinger P: A Novel Exercise Initiative for Seniors to Improve Balance and Physical Function. Journal of Aging and Health 2017, 29(8):1424.

Sales M, Polman R, Hill K, Levinger P: Older adults’ perceptions to a novel outdoor exercise initiative: a qualitative analysis. J Aging Soc Change 2018, 8 (1):61-78.

Sales MP, Polman R, Hill KD, Karaharju-Huisman T, Levinger P: A novel dynamic exercise initiative for older people to improve health and well-being: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMC Geriatrics 2015, 15:68.