Introduction: New Paradigms of Active Ageing

  • Gonçalo Nuno Figueiredo Dias
  • Micael Santos Couceiro
  • Polybio Serra e Silva
  • Maria António Castro
  • Maria Aurora Branquinho
  • Rui Mendes
  • Inês Cláudia Rijo de Carvalho
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Well-Being and Quality of Life Research book series (BRIEFSWELLBEING)


The main purpose of this chapter is to describe active ageing as a continuous and unavoidable process. An integrated and holistic approach is needed, which highlights the advantages of psychomotricity and gerontomotricity. Such an approach can decrease physical and social isolation in the elderly, and even help them to find their affordances. Therefore, their opportunities for socialization and recreation can be increased. Elderly quality of life stretches beyond the physical and biological dimensions. Healthy ageing presupposes a dynamic balance between body, cognition and affection. The elderly think, feel and move differently. Therefore, they require special care concerning their physical activity and the management of the organic, nutritional and physiological aspects that affect their ageing bodies. From this perspective, the topic of active ageing comprehends healthy lifestyles and physical activity. These recommendations, which are widely known in Western societies, aim to prevent disease and promote health. In addition, active ageing, in the broad sense, should assume a paradigm shift that adequately responds to aspects related with the increase in longevity, quality of life and health among the older people. According to the state of the art, physical activity can play a crucial role in the protection against age-related morbidity and in the increase of longevity. Regardless of the age when physical activity starts, changes in sedentary patterns, even among those older than 85, can substantially reduce mortality and functional disability. The adaptations introduced in the movement, if performed adequately, may contribute to improve not only individuals’ health, but also their quality of life. Finally, physical activity may effectively improve ability by improving several functions of the body, such as strength, flexibility, resistance and general physical aptitude. However, it is necessary to adapt physical activity recommendations to older people, in order to cater for their specific needs. It is also essential to use several types of exercise which can correct or improve the functional limitations identified.


Active ageing Physical activity Quality of life Health 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gonçalo Nuno Figueiredo Dias
    • 1
  • Micael Santos Couceiro
    • 2
  • Polybio Serra e Silva
    • 3
  • Maria António Castro
    • 4
  • Maria Aurora Branquinho
    • 3
  • Rui Mendes
    • 5
  • Inês Cláudia Rijo de Carvalho
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education (CIDAF)University of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Ingeniarius, LtdCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Center Delegation of Portuguese Cardiology FoundationCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Coimbra School of Health TechnologyPolytechnic Institute of Coimbra (ESTeSC)CoimbraPortugal
  5. 5.Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra (ESEC.IPC)CoimbraPortugal
  6. 6.Department of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and TourismUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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