Exercising as you get older

Keeping active is important at any age, but regular physical activity over the age of 65 brings its own benefits. This is whether you’ve been active in the past or are just beginning physical activity now.

Health benefits of exercising as you get older

Daily activity reduces your risk of:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • some cancers

Not only that, but exercise can:

  • give you more energy
  • reduce your risk of falls
  • improve your sleep
  • boost your general mobility
  • boost your confidence

You should try to achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines. If they sound difficult to achieve, start slowly and you can build up to them.

Day-to-day activity

Think about ways you can build physical activity into your daily routine. If you don’t feel you’re ready to take up a new sport or exercise, you can start becoming more active in other ways.

Do

  • walk for short journeys rather than taking the car or public transport
  • walk around the house when on the phone rather than sitting down
  • stretch daily to improve your flexibility and balance (this can be done standing up or sitting down) – ask your physiotherapist or staff at your local sports centre what stretches are best for you
  • contact local community groups in your area who can provide activities like walking, volunteering and socialising with others
  • gardening, including light digging, carrying, bending and squatting, to work the muscles and increase mobility and flexibility

Physical activity and sport

Better still, think about taking up a regular physical activity. Finding one that works for you is key.

It’s worth enquiring at your local sports or community centre about what’s available. They may also be able to recommend activities which are suited to your ability. Consider some of the following which may be free:

  • walking or running – go at your own pace, it’s generally a great, inexpensive way of keeping fit
  • tai chi, Pilates or yoga – improves mobility, flexibility and balance
  • swimming or aqua aerobics – exercising in water reduces the strain on your joints
  • dancing – can be done at home with your friends or partner, or even at a local group
  • bowls – find a local club, it can help increase mobility, and flexibility in your joints
  • local fitness classes – contact your nearest leisure centre, they may have senior-only or adapted classes

Usually when it comes to exercise, the more you do the better, but take care not to cause yourself strain or injury.

You may want to speak to staff at your local sports centre or physiotherapist if you want to start becoming more physically active. They’ll be able to advise on an activity that’s best for you.

Last updated:
30 November 2022

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