Study shows one in four Americans over 50 is not physically active

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COLUMBIA - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study Thursday that said more than one in four Americans over the age of 50 does not engage in regular physical activity.

The study defined the lack of activity as being "not physically active beyond the basic movements needed for daily life activities." 31 million people over 50 fall into the category of not being physically active.

The study gave more specific details regarding demographics, including inactivity being higher for women than men and the percentage of inactivity decreasing as education increased.

There are multiple resources available locally for people over 50 to stay physically active. Columbia Parks and Rec operates a 50 Plus program at the Hillcrest Community Center where participants go on tours, dance and play games, among other activities.

The Columbia Senior Activity Center also provides opportunities for older adults to stay active, offering activities such as Zumba, yoga and other exercise classes.

"Well, I think certainly if I did them more it would be better," participant Connie Niederhelman said about how often she uses the programs. "I think the tai chi does help with balance and certainly the yoga with flexibility, which as we get older we certainly need."

Local fitness centers are also encouraging older adults to use their facilities to stay active.

"We actually offer a couple of programs," said Anytime Fitness General Manager Tyler Zimmer. "Through a lot of insurances, some actually reimburse people completely for their membership and for some, it's completely free membership if they actually join and use it."

The CDC stated in a release that it is "working with state health departments to increase physical activity by increasing the number of communities that have pedestrian and bike-friendly master transportation plans."