New initiative to address physical health lag in ageing LGBTQ+ community


A new collaboration between ACON and Gymnastics NSW seeks to bolster physical well-being among older LGBTQ+ 55 and over through tailored programming addressing longstanding access barriers.

Dubbed “Fitter for Life & LOVE,” the initiative aligns Gymnastics NSW’s at-home exercise program with ACON’s expertise serving ageing LGBTQ+ populations. Programming is designed specifically to promote activity levels among a cohort facing amplified chronic disease risks driven by a lifetime of stigma.

“We know from both research and our work with older people in our communities that many face unique challenges in accessing healthcare and organised sport,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said. “Given the link between positive health and physical activity, this is unsurprisingly evidenced by older LGBTQ+ people’s disproportionate rates of chronic disease, including heart disease.”

Parkhill pointed to significantly higher heart disease rates even when accounting for known LGBTQ+ health disparities. Experts say a longstanding disconnect from organised activities and inadequate tailored offerings allow adverse outcomes to compound over time.

By offering remote adaptive classes, collaborative forums and celebrity facilitators from within their community, program partners hope to spur renewed engagement with movements as inextricable from holistic wellness.

Gymnastics NSW Business Operations Manager Kait Carter reinforced their commitment to ensuring inclusive participation regardless of age or physical ability. “Gymnastics NSW believe that everyone of all ages and stages has the right to participate,” she stated.

“We are honoured to be part of a collaboration with so many highly respected organisations to promote healthy hearts, minds and bodies.”

ACON Ageing Coordinator Russ Gluyas said the additional social components foster a sense of collective support and accountability as well. “It’s an LGBTQ+ inclusive, fun, social and healthy innovation,” he noted.

Australian Physiotherapy Association Advisory Chair Dr Megan Ross endorsed the offering for promoting evidence-based wellness practices adjusted to users’ own space, at their own pace

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