By 2050, the number of people in the EU aged 65 and above will have grown by 70% and the number of people aged over 80 by 170%. This raises important challenges: meet the higher demand for health care; adapt health systems to the needs of an ageing population while keeping them sustainable in societies with a smaller workforce; and promote the health and ability of the ageing population to live independently.
Mobility is key in facing these challenges both as a determinant of the ability to live independently and as a factor in promoting health and quality of life. First, mobility is to a large extent dependent on musculoskeletal and neurological health, which may deteriorate even in healthy elderly. Second, physical activity is of paramount importance in the prevention of age-related disorders, whether it is cardiovascular disorders such as stroke and ischemic heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, or metabolic disorders, such as type II diabetes.