It’s no secret that keeping fit is important at any age – both for your physical and mental well-being. However, as we are all aware, it becomes even more crucial as we enter our mature years so that we can continue to lead full, enjoyable and independent lives.
There are several ways in which exercise can directly impact on your quality of life. Most obviously it improves our health through strengthening our immune systems, but it’s also proven to release endorphins which help to regulate our mood. It’s the reason behind that post-workout ‘high’ that all gym bunnies talk about.
Secondly regular exercise can lead to weight loss and muscle toning, meaning an improvement in our appearance which boosts self-esteem. Lastly, but equally as important, exercise usually means getting out of the house and interacting with other people, so it’s a healthy antidote to loneliness.
Stannah recently ran a survey to gauge attitudes to exercise amongst Britain’s over 65s, as part of our ongoing Silver Census study. It found that more than a third of people aged over 65 are worried about not getting enough exercise. The survey also showed that those with a lower income (less than £20k) are less likely to exercise regularly.
So, if you don’t have a gym membership, how else can you keep fit?
It may sound old-fashioned, but doing the housework is an easy (and not to mention useful!) way to keep fit. Whether you’re more a fan of hoovering, dusting or hanging out the laundry, all will burn calories and help you to keep in shape. Housework usually means a lot of travelling between upstairs and downstairs, which can be tiring for those with heart problems. In these cases a stairlift is a useful aid, especially as it can allow you to rest your laundry on your knee!
If you don’t own a dog, don’t stop reading! Make the initial effort to take your dog for regular walks and then pretty soon you’ll find they’ll be the one reminding you. Generally speaking – the bigger the dog, the longer the walk – so consider this if you’re thinking about becoming a dog owner. Alternatively there are online schemes which allow dog lovers to borrow other people’s dogs for walking.
Easy on your joints and an entertaining way to exercise, swimming has seen a resurgence in recent years with the arrival of outdoor lidos up and down the country. The local leisure centre is just as good though! Swimming is great for all over body conditioning but unlike most sports, it’s low impact and therefore an ideal alternative for anyone experiencing issues with joints.
Hiking is great for both cardiovascular and muscular development. Popular walking spots will have planned routes which vary in length and intensity, so there’s little planning to be done aside from getting there. Hiking is also a great excuse to get friends together, even making a holiday out of it. The Lake District is the best known hiking destination but there are scenic hiking routes all around the UK.
Tennis may sound like a high-energy activity – but the intensity of a tennis match can easily be dialled up or down, depending on who you’re playing against. Many large parks across the UK still have tennis courts which can be rented at no cost. Grab a pal and try it for 20 minutes or so!
This is just a flavour of ways to keep fit – whether free or requiring some money, the most important thing is that you find an activity which you enjoy and get to meet like-minded people through. That way it means you’re far more likely to keep it up – good luck!
This is a post sponsored by Stannah.