Physical Activity

If you are over 65 you should aim to do the same amount of exercise as other adults – 150 minutes a week, and exercise to strengthen muscles 2 days a week. If you feel like your legs are weaker, or you have any problems with balance you should also do exercise to improve your balance and coordination 2 times a week.

Staying active as you get older is important for many reasons and has lots of benefits:

  • Any exercise where you are on your feet (walking, climbing stairs) helps keep your bones strong and healthy
  • As you get older the amount of muscle you have decreases – strengthening exercises can help build muscle
  • Exercise helps strengthen muscles which protects joints and can help with pain, stiffness and mobility. See Exercise and Arthritis for more information
  • Exercise helps your mood
  • Exercise helps you to sleep better
  • Older adults who are active are normally more independent and at lower risk of falls
  • Exercise can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and can help manage these conditions if you have them
  • Being active with your family, friends, grandchildren and neighbours is a great way to socialise, can help combat loneliness and build strong, healthy relationships for the future – it can be great fun too!

If you haven't been active before don't worry - it is never too late to get started - if you have any worries or questions speak to your GP or an exercise instructor before you get started.

Strengthening exercises include lifting and carrying, and pushing and pulling your own body weight – you can do exercises at a gym, but there are lots of things you can do at home to build up your strength:

  • Lifting and carrying shopping.
  • Walking up and down stairs repeatedly.
  • Getting up and down out of a chair repeatedly.
  • Push ups against the wall.

Balance exercises help keep you steady on your feet. This can be important if your legs feel weaker, or you feel you have slowed down. These exercises can help with balance (most of them help with strength too!):

  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Playing copying/”Simon Says” with children or grandchildren – make it a challenge, but stay safe!

There are also exercise programmes online, advice for exercising if you have arthritis or you can speak to your local leisure centre or refer yourself to Physiotherapy if you are not sure about exercising.