Keeping active is important at any age, but regular physical activity over the age of 65 brings its own benefits whether you’ve been active in the past or just beginning physical activity now. Daily activity reduces your risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and even some cancers. Not only that, but it can give you more energy, reduce your risk of falls, improve your sleep as well as boost your general mobility and 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.
Think about ways you can build physical activity into your daily routine. If you don't feel you are ready to take up a new sport or exercise, you can start becoming more active by doing some of the following:
- walking for short journeys rather than taking the car or public transport
- walking around the house when on the phone rather than sitting down
- daily stretching - can improve flexibility and balance, they can be done standing up or sitting down. You can 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 such as walking, volunteering and socialising with others
- gardening – light digging, carrying, bending and squatting works muscles and can 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 and it's worth enquiring at your local sports or community centre about what is 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 will be able to advise on an activity that is best for you.