gms | German Medical Science

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

European master programme in adapted physical activity for older persons

Meeting Abstract

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Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa071

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

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Van Coppenolle.
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 the past 50 years, one of the most important changes within Europe has been the rapid increase in the number of people living into their 70s, 80s and beyond. Most of those people have some physical or mental disability, regardless the fact if they acquired this disability at birth, later in life or through the normal process of ageing.

Recently the traditional disability model has changed to agree with the suggestion that disability is not only the consequence of a disease but also of lifestyle choices. Ageing is a process that often affects and restricts the physical, psychological and social well being of individuals. Numerous research projects have successfully demonstrated that the benefits of planned physical activities for health in every age group are indisputable. Older adults are the fastest growing age group which results in increased number of disabled older adults. Attention should to be given to them as a special population with specific needs in the area of exercise and sport. Qualified professionals in the area of physical activity for the older persons have to be prepared now, so they can meet the new demands of the future. One of the main goals of our Network is to create a basic profile and to implement the subject of Adapted Physical Activity for the older adults in the European higher education curricula in order to compensate for the current lack of information in that specific domain.

By offering a programme consisting of several modules that cover different areas of knowledge we are able to meet the needs of students with different educational backgrounds.

More than two years experts from all European countries were investigating the educational provision in the field. We found our strongest point of reference in the International Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults, designed by the International Society for Aging and Physical Activity. In order to put the main interest in the aspects of disability and ageing, each of the original modules has been adapted and further developed by specialist in the specific area with respect to adapted physical activity.

This master programme will be a co-operation between universities which will contribute to the students’ mobility in search for the best expertise.