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Good morning,

In the Ontario Age-Friendly Communities Outreach Program's evidence-based report, Building Connections: Promising Practices to Reduce Older Adult Social Isolation for Age-Friendly Community Initiativesmitigating social isolation was categorized into five categories: Technology, Social Interaction, Education, Physical Activity, and Arts.

Over a series of five newsletters, we will share a curated reading list for each category to build awareness, connections, and promising practices to reduce social isolation and loneliness among older adults. If you are planning a local program, looking for inspiration, or building a business case to support your work, this puts the evidence right in your hands!

This third issue highlights some of the literature published between 2016 and 2022 exploring the use of Physical Activity to mitigate social isolation and loneliness in older adults. 

Kind regards,
Emily Mullins
Emily Mullins
Knowledge Broker, Centre for Studies in Aging and Health at Providence Care

 Community of Interest on Social Isolation and Loneliness Reading List:  
Physical Activity

The topics discussed below include physical activity, mental and physical effects, physical activity interventions for the treatment of social isolation, social support and physical activity, exercise video games, COVID-19 pandemic, rural living older adults, home-based exercise, physical inactivity, and the quality of life of older adults.
The Association Between Physical Activity and Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Older Adults
This study aimed to determine whether a relationship exists between physical activity (recreational and/or household-based) and social isolation. It focused on whether group-or home-based falls prevention exercise was associated with social isolation.
The Association Between Social Support and Physical Activity in Older Adults: A Systematic Review
This review aimed to: (1) systematically review and summarise studies examining the association between social support (SS), or loneliness, and physical activity (PA) in older adults; (2) clarify if specific types of SS are positively associated with PA; and (3) investigate whether the association between SS and PA differs between PA domains.  
Physical Activity Interventions for Treatment of Social Isolation, Loneliness or Low Social Support in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials
This systematic review examines the effects of physical activity interventions on social isolation, loneliness, and low social support among older adults.
Effects of a Randomized Exercise Trial on Physical Activity, Psychological Distress and Quality of Life in Older Adults
Improvements in positive psychological health indices may explain the relationship between physical activity and quality of life (QoL) in older adults. The study examined the effects of changes in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and psychological distress on changes in QoL in older adults enrolled in an exercise program.
The Mental Health Benefits of Physical Activity in Older Adults Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic
This cross-sectional study sought to determine the relationship between the intensity of a physical activity performed by older adults and their depression and anxiety symptoms while under social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Associations Between Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Objective Physical Activity in Older Men and Women
This study tested the hypothesis that social isolation and loneliness are associated with less objective physical activity and more sedentary behaviour in older adults.
The Effect of Physical Activity on Social Isolation in Elderly
Older adults who have poor social relationships have a higher risk of death than those with strong social relationships. This study aimed to determine the effect of physical activity on social isolation among older adults.
Feasibility and Enjoyment of Exercise Video Games in Older Adults
Exergames are beneficial to older adults’ physical and cognitive health but can also reduce loneliness and increase social connection. This pilot study aimed to investigate older adults’ perceptions of two exergames.
Sport, Physical Activity, and Social Health in Older Adults. Caring with Technology in the COVID-19 Pandemic
This study analyzed the relationship between social networks and social support, sport and recreational activity, and the use of communications technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact of Social Isolation Due to COVID-19 on Health in Older People: Mental and Physical Effects and Recommendations
This narrative review sought to analyze the impact of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental and physical health of older adults and provide recommendations for patients, caregivers, and health professionals.
Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Objectively Measured Physical Activity in Rural-Living Older Adults
This cross-sectional and observational study examined whether objectively measured physical activity and specific activities are associated with loneliness and social isolation in rural-living adults.
COVID-19 and the Impact on the Physical Activity Level of Elderly People: A Systematic Review
This systematic review evaluated the available evidence related to the level of physical activity of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.


If you know of any  Physical Activity programs being offered in your community to reduce social isolation and loneliness of older adults, please email details to to have them added to our inventory. 


Building Connections: Promising Practices to Reduce Older Adult Social Isolation for Age-Friendly Community Initiatives

Findings From A Literature Review on Social Isolation, Loneliness and Older Adults During COVID-19

UN Decade of Healthy Ageing Advocacy Brief: Social isolation and Loneliness Among Older People
About the Ontario Age-Friendly Communities (AFC) Outreach Program

The Outreach Program is funded by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and managed by the Centre for Studies in Aging and Health at Providence Care in partnership with Queen’s University.

The Outreach Program aims to raise awareness about AFCs, facilitate connectedness within and between communities, and increase the capacity for local planning and implementation of age-friendly initiatives. The Outreach Program builds on and complements Ontario's Creating a more inclusive Ontario: age-friendly community planning guide for municipalities and community organizations.

The Outreach Program helps communities, including recipients of Ontario’s AFC Planning Grant: increase awareness of age-friendly planning principles; share best practices; and start, continue, evaluate and improve on their AFC action plans.
Stay Connected!
Visit our website in French or English
Contact Emily Mullins, the Ontario AFC Knowledge Broker.
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