Marketing physical activity to older people: Attitudes towards 'incidental activity'

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure




Jackson, J. & Henley, N. (2002). Marketing physical activity to older people: Attitudes towards ‘incidental activity’, Australia & New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Original article available here


The National Physical Activity Guidelines (NPAG) were launched in 1999 to encourage increased physical activity in the general population as a way of improving health and reducing preventable disease in Australia. One of the guidelines, ‘Be active every day in as many ways as you can’ encourages an increase in incidental activity, such as parking further away from the shops, getting up to turn the channel on the TV, etc. Older people are an important sub-group of the overall target market because being active into old age can mean extended independence and quality of life. We investigated older people’s attitudes to the incidental activity recommendation. Eight focus groups were conducted with male and female, ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ older people in two age groups. We found that older people generally thought of physical activity as something extra to do, but were receptive to the idea that many of their current activities could be classed as incidental physical activity. More positive attitudes towards physical activity were expressed by participants and less guilt. We suggest that shopping malls can provide an ideal venue for marketing the incidental activity recommendation to older people.