The year 1999 was designated the International Year of Older Persons (IYOP) by the United Nations and focused attention on the many challenges facing society as a result of the aging of the population during the 20th century. Traditional models of health and social care are likely to be severely challenged by growing numbers of older adults in both industrialized and developing societies. There is now compelling evidence that regular physical activity is associated with significant physiological, psychological, and social benefits in older adult populations. This paper argues that it may be possible for many older persons to age successfully and that advancing age need not be associated with only decline and decay. Examples are provided of four older persons who are managing to age successfully. There is a compelling need for the development of integrated activity programs that focus not only on physical activity, but also attempt to address the intellectual, social, and spiritual needs of older persons using a more holistic approach than is commonly used at present.
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