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Tips on keeping fit in later life

Health & wellbeing

Which are the best exercises for older people?

Aim for a blend of aerobic exercise, strength/resistance training, and stretching/flexibility exercises to improve your mobility, build strength, and enhance your balance and coordination.

  • Stretching/flexibility exercise: 

Yoga and pilates are low-impact activities that are easy on your joints but build muscle and core strength, improve flexibility and strengthen bones. Many of the exercises are done in sitting or reclining positions. Find an introductory class to get you started – some are specially designed for older adults. 

  • Aerobic exercise: 

Walking, swimming, and using a static bike are all good choices for boosting lung function and stamina. Just thirty minutes a day will make a difference, which you can even do in short 10-minute bursts.

  • Strength training: 

There are simple, low-impact exercises you can do at home each day to help reverse muscle loss and burn body fat, including stair climbing, squats, and single-leg stands. You can even incorporate light hand weights or a resistance band for extra benefit.

How long should you spend exercising?

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. That’s 30 minutes five days a week. Alternatively, aim to do something every day, preferably in bursts of 10 minutes or more.
  • Be mindful of the sedentary activities you’re doing each day. Do you spend hours watching TV, on the computer, driving, or sitting to read, talk or listen to music? Break up this time with periods of exercise.

Does housework count?

Sadly not! The effort isn’t enough to raise your heart rate, although it will help break up the time you spend sitting down.

How do you get started if you’re new to exercise?

  • Find activities you enjoy, so you’re more likely to stick with them. And find exercise you can do all year round.
  • Always warm up before doing any exercise and build up your activity gradually to help your body get used to it. This will avoid the risk of injury.
  • Talk to your GP if you have any worries, and talk to the team at your local gym or leisure centre for advice or recommendations of classes to try.

Research shows it's never too late to start reaping the health benefits of a more active lifestyle. Enjoy!

Take a look at our let's get physical campaign, which encouraged residents to get active and try something new.


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