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Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Movement, Health and Quality of Life for Senior Citizens: Requirements and Approaches

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author M. Strehler - SportKreativWerkstatt, Germany
  • F.E. Moritz - SportKreativWerkstatt, Germany

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa019

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Strehler et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



In most industrialized countries today, societies are aging. Individuals in the workforce are thus burdened with ever higher social welfare contributions to cover the retirement and medical expenses of the elderly. The latter could be drastically reduced through preventive measures, such as regular physical exercise. However, as our own market research as well as other studies show, there is a lack of exercise equipment on the market geared to the needs of the elderly. To tap into the potential advantages that can be brought about by ensuring that the elderly can exercise regularly, the first step is to develop appropriate devices.

To this end, a study was carried out to identify the requirements for sports equipment suitable for senior citizens. The study included a pre-study, focused workshops, a standardized questionnaire and a quantitative and qualitative analysis. According to the results, only about 10 percent of senior citizens currently use sports equipment; this stands in stark contrast to the strong interest the seniors expressed in having access to appropriate devices. The study focused on identifying seniors’ needs in this area, as a basis for developing exercise equipment for this sector of the population.

The key results of the study are: Elderly individuals prefer to exercise with friends. Integration of weaker or handicapped people is very important to them – even when it comes to exercising. They are averse to competition and to the integration of computer technologies in their physical activity. They prefer simple designs and natural materials. Color and industrial design do not play a major role for them in their acceptance of the devices. Security, quality and efficiency are much more important factors for them.

On the basis of this input, the following three approaches for exercise equipment for the elderly have been developed:

1. Communication Bike:

Cycling is one of the most accepted forms of exercise among senior citizens. A bike for four persons allows communication while riding (social benefit), and offers stability, thereby reducing the risk of injury. With this concept, alternative drive mechanisms (such as pedaling with one’s hands) and performance monitoring can easily be implemented, thus helping to integrate the handicapped and those with medical conditions that make regular cycling difficult or impossible.

2. Best Age Basketball:

Basketball is also a popular sport. However, the abrupt stop and go movements make it unsuitable for many elderly individuals. A less competitive variation, where everyone plays around one basket and an element of chance is added, is still challenging but less aggressive to bones and joints.

3. Dynamic Garden:

This concept would provide a completely new model for seniors. It offers sports and exercise activities, with a focus on easy accessibility and integration of play and communication, while appealing to the intrinsic motivation of the elderly.