Nine Principles of Active Aging

An essential facet of Nia is our ongoing commitment to inclusion in our journey to wellness. This is extremely significant in reference to our aging population which is so often ignored or underappreciated in the fitness industry. Specialized classes like Nia’s Moving to Heal allow individuals, no matter their age, health or mobility, to be supported in ways that fit their specific needs. With the aging population larger than ever, The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) created Nine Principles of Active Aging to “guide governments, product and service providers, employers, and the healthcare industry in how they respond to population aging.”

In it they highlight the following:

"What is active aging?"

Active aging promotes the vision of all individuals―regardless of age, socioeconomic status or health―fully engaging in life within all seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional/vocational, social and spiritual.

Nine Principles of Active Aging

1. Populations

The diverse population of older adults requires diverse solutions.

2. Perceptions

Ageism and negative stereotypes of aging impede an inclusive society.

3. People

Trained and committed individuals are needed to meet the needs of older adults.

4. Potential

Population aging is creating new economies.

5. Products

Products and services are needed that tailor to older-adult needs.

6. Promotions

Older adults are a key market to attract.

7. Places

Environments must be constructed to enable multiple functional abilities.

8. Policies

The human rights of older adults should be protected.

9. Programs

The seven dimensions of wellness anchor the principles.

Seven Dimensions of Wellness

Active aging embodies the philosophy that individuals can live as fully as possible within the seven dimensions of wellness.

1. Emotional

Coping with challenges and behaving in trustworthy and respectful ways signal emotional wellness, attributes that can be encouraged through peer counseling, stress management, humor/laughter and personal histories.

2. Intellectual, cognitive

There are many ways to stay intellectually active, including taking college courses, journaling, painting or joining a theater company, and challenging oneself with games and puzzles.

3. Professional, vocational

Older adults contribute to society as experienced professionals, caregivers, mentors, teachers and volunteers. Leisure-time vocations in the arts and through hobbies maintain vocational skills.

4. Social

Social interactions with family, friends, neighbors and chosen peer groups can be valuable for maintaining health. Personal contact by joining clubs, traveling, visiting friends and family, and engaging in intergenerational experiences is beneficial for everyone.

5. Spiritual

Group and individual faith-based activities, personal meditation, mindful exercise (yoga, tai chi) and experiencing nature can create the opportunity for spiritual growth.

6. Environmental

Ways to bring people into the natural environment and encourage active living through urban and property designs which emphasize walking paths, meditation, vegetable gardens and similar options.

7. Physical

Lifestyle choices that can maintain or improve health and functional ability include engaging in physical activity, choosing healthy foods with adequate nutrition, getting adequate sleep, managing stress, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking, making appointments for checkups and following medical recommendations.

By implementing these principles, organizations and agencies will be able to build a foundation for their efforts and encourage active, engaged living for people of all ages.

For more information on the ICAA and on the principles of active aging, visit their website at

For more information on how Nia can benefit healthy active aging, please visit