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Physical Activity Resources for Older Adults


Active Independent Aging—A community guide for falls prevention and active living

This comprehensive guide, available online, is an excellent reference for physical activity leaders. It provides information on physical activity promotion and falls among older adults and offers a broad range of valuable resources including videos, fact sheets, manuals, checklists, books and audiocassettes.

Canada’s Physical Activity Guide & Handbook to Healthy Active Living for Older Adults

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and Health Canada recommend that older men and women accumulate 30 - 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, to maintain good health and an improved quality of life. To obtain a free copy of the guide or for more information, call 1-888-334-9769 or go to Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living.

City of Ottawa Recreation Guide

Pick up a copy of “The Guide” today for your fitness, sports and leisure needs. The Recreation Guide contains a great selection of popular programs and services that are affordable, convenient to access and in your neighbourhood. For more information, visit any Client Service Centre, local recreation facility, or link to the recreation guide.

Information manuals / Downloadable workshops

“Physical Activity and Older Adults” from the Physical Activity Resource Centre (PARC)

Need to give a presentation on physical activity? This free resource is available - for you to download and adapt to any audience. You can access the workshop online.

Exercise leader training and certification

Break Through Program

Developed by Osteoporosis Canada, this program targets adults over 50 with the aim of preventing and treating osteoporosis through a combination of physical activity and nutrition. Workshops may be available to assist individuals to deliver the 9-module program in their own community. Other resources include an instructor’s manual along with two DVDs and a comprehensive reference guide to osteoporosis. For more information, call 1-800-463-6842 or go online.

Can-Fit-Pro Older Adult Fitness Specialist Course

This comprehensive 16-hour course is designed to provide fitness and health professionals with education to help them make safe and effective decisions when developing and delivering activity and exercise programs for the older adult. Current certification as a health professional, fitness instructor or personal trainer is required. For more information call 1-800-667-5622.

Home Support Exercise Program Certification

The Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA) has developed an evidence-based exercise program for seniors consisting of 10 simple and progressive exercises designed to maintain and improve their functional independence. The program is geared to those working as personal support workers, volunteers or caregivers. It includes an exercise video and illustrated booklet. Other CCAA courses include Restorative Care, Senior’s Fitness Instructor and Training for the Trainer. For further information on training, call 613-236-0428 and speak with Sharon Oatway at the Good Companions Centre. Call the CCAA at 1-519-661-1612 or visit their Website.

National Capital Region YMCA-YWCA

The Y Education Centre has an Older Adult Certification program available. This program is for individuals who have acquired the prerequisites of Basic Theory & Group Fitness Certification. The program focuses on physiological considerations when working with Older Adults. For more information call the Centre at 613-237-1320, ext. 5116 or visit them online.

Senior Fitness Instructors Course (SFIC)

The Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA), with the University of Western-Ontario has developed this certification program for people who want to learn about designing and instructing effective, safe, and enjoyable group fitness classes and programs. A certificate of recognition will be awarded to all those who successfully complete the 36-hour, in-class theory portion of the course. Call the CCAA at 1-519-661-1612 or visit their Website at

Steady As You Go (SAYGO)

The SAYGO program aims at reducing the number of falls for healthy, independent seniors, who wish to remain independent, by increasing awareness of their risks for falls and encouraging them to make changes in their behaviour and environment. This is a leadership-training program for “senior leaders” supported and facilitated by health professionals. Resources include an agency and facilitator manual and a 33-minute exercise video. The program is also available in French. For more information, contact Ellie Robson at Capital Health Authority by telephone, 780-413-7954 or by fax at 780-482-4194.

Spirit in Motion

This culturally-relevant resource includes a video and handbook for aboriginal older adults, and outlines easy to follow exercises recommended for individuals who work with aboriginal communities. To order a copy, visit

Videos & DVDs

1. Breakthrough Program—Exercise for Life—DVD

Launched by Osteoporosis Canada, this DVD outlines exercises to maintain bone strength, improve posture, balance and strengthen muscles. You can order your copy by telephone at 1-800-463-6842. Cost is $20, plus shipping and handling.

2. Celebrate Active Living: Gentle Exercises for People with Arthritis

Through this simple to use, instructional video, people with arthritis can develop a personal exercise program suited to their individual needs. Cost is $8. Please contact the Arthritis Society of Canada at 1-800-321-1433.

3. Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging

This program for older adults includes a videocassette and manual containing valuable information about how exercise and proper nutrition are crucial for staying healthy as we age, as well as useful tips on establishing and maintaining a regular exercise program. Single copies of this guide are free! For more information call 1-301-496-1752 or visit their website.

4. Fitness Forever

A nationally- recognized program from Tahoe Forest Hospital, American College of Sports Medicine and Ayerst Laboratories. This video provides a complete workout for older adults just beginning an exercise program—includes warm up, cool down, aerobics and strength training, flexibility and balance. For more information, or to order the video at a cost of $19.95 US, call 1-800-985-5185 or visit

5. Taoist Tai Chi for seniors

Through this resource you can learn the foundation of Taoist Tai Chi and the many ways to participate in this art. The book is available at a cost of $24 and the video is available for $13. For more information, contact the Taoist Tai Chi Society at telephone at 613-233-2318.

6. ViActive

Kino-Québec offers program resources in French and some English including exercise videos, dance classes, aquatic courses, tapes and activity resource kits. Resources are available for a fee and can be ordered online (french webpage only).

Web-based programs:

1. Exercise for Life

A physical activity program for older adults developed through a partnership between the American Society on Aging and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a comprehensive physical activity program including chair-based strength exercises for the upper and lower body, stretching and balance. Visit them online.

2. Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults

An excellent introduction to strength training is presented on this web-based exercise program. All guidelines are based on sound scientific research. All you need to get started is here – check it out!

3. First Step to Active Health

This Website provides an evidence-based progressive activity program for older adults. There is information for both health care providers and patients on getting started. Downloadable resources from this Website include the Active Aging Toolkit – a physical activity program that healthcare providers can prescribe for their patients. Visit online.

Our top Active Living Websites
Ottawa Public Health has legislated responsibility for delivering public health services, including health protection, disease and injury prevention, control of communicable diseases, family health services and responding to public health services. Take the time to browse through.
Active Aging Canada strives to promote a society where all adult and older adult Canadians are leading active lifestyles that contribute to their overall well-being.This website is a great resource for older adults, health practitioners and active living leaders!
Live Well, Live Long is a Website provided by American Society on Aging in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It provides a range of resources for healthcare practitioners with a focus on health promotion strategies and materials such as Exercise for Life! A Physical Activity Program for Older Adults, which includes a facilitator’s guide.
The U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website, Healthy Aging for Older Adults, offers great resources and information. Check it out!
This Website owned by the Ontario government was created to provide Ontarians with a world- leading web destination for trusted health information, services and advice for healthier living. Click on seniors to get started.
The International Council on Active Aging Website links community agencies and organizations that serve the Older Adult population. The ICAA provides support to health promoters through the provision of promotional materials such as How To Get the Most Out of Active Aging Week, educational resources on a variety of topics as well as client handouts and toolkits.
The Physical Activity Resource Centre site was developed to build the capacity of Physical Activity Promoters across Ontario. This Website offers a wide range of resources including information on physical activity, downloadable workshop materials with topics ranging from Walking Workshop, Physical Activity and Older Adults, Physical Activity and Chronic Diseases. Also included are, opportunities for networking referrals and training.

Healthy eating resources

Eating well with Canada’s Food Guide (NEW)

Health Canada’s key nutrition guide on the Web: Canada's Food Guide. Or call 1-800-622-6232.

Dietitians of Canada

This organization is the nation-wide voice of dietitians—the most trusted source of information on food and nutrition for Canadians. Both consumers and professionals will benefit from this excellent listing of resources. Check it out at their website.

Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging

The Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging Kit has been developed for community leaders who have the opportunity to incorporate healthy eating information into programs they are currently running or planning for older adults. This kit is now available online at on the Nutrition Resource Centre Website,.

EatRight Ontario

Nutrition information at your fingertips. Ask a registered Dietitian online.