Older People’s Day takes place on 1st October and this year celebrates the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society and the economy.
With age comes wisdom and life experience that is invaluable when passed on to younger generations. From looking after the grandchildren to volunteering at a local church group or running a community art class, life rarely slows down after retirement nowadays!
People are living longer than ever before with average life expectancy in the UK rising to 79.4 years, but how can we make sure we stay active and continue to enjoy good quality of life into our golden years?
If you don’t use it you lose it!
By keeping active we maintain muscle strength and joint flexibility, as well as keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control to reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Exercise can also help with weight loss and improve mood and mental wellbeing too…bonus!
Where do I start?
If you haven’t exercised for years, start slowly – older joints will have a tendency to be stiffer, particularly in the mornings and in cold weather.
A physiotherapist can help by assessing your muscle strength, flexibility and balance and create a tailored individual exercise programme to address these as well as treating any aches and pains you may have.
A gentle stretching routine every morning might be all that’s needed to keep you supple enough to chase after those grandchildren!
Ideas for staying active
- Tai Chi
- Table tennis
- Falls prevention classes/Chair based exercise classes – why not try our specialist Positive Steps classes. Held twice a week they are specifically designed to help maintain and improve strength, balance, flexibility and fitness for those 60+, in a friendly, social and caring environment.
- Dancing – did you know dancing has been shown to reverse signs of aging in the brain and improve mental and physical wellbeing in an older population, it’s even being used to help treat Parkinson’s disease!
How long do I need to keep it up for?
The key is to find something you enjoy, that makes you feel good so that it doesn’t feel like hard work to keep it up indefinitely. Whether that’s a Pilates class, dancing or gardening the most important thing is that you’re getting out there and getting moving!
It often doesn’t take any fancy equipment and there are no requirements for lycra or leotards but all you need is a healthy disregard for the stereotype of age and a little bit of motivation to stay youthful!
Here are some very simple exercises you can do to help maintain strength and balance.