Physical activity for older people
Something is better than nothing
Start small and build up gradually. Just 10 minutes physical activity at a time provides benefits. Make a start today, it's never too late!
Do not encourage older friends or relatives to 'take it easy'
It can be tempting, but it’s not always the best thing for them in the long term. Too much sitting and too little movement can ultimately make people feel worse. Don’t forget, any activity is better than none.
Want to do a bit more?
Try activities that raise your heart rate and get you breathing faster. These help to keep your heart, lungs and brain healthy. Why not try something new like Zumba or Tai Chi?
Or remind yourself of the activities you used to enjoy. Activities like walking netball and walking football are becoming increasingly popular. They're also a great way to make new friends.
Commonly asked questions
As an older adult, how much activity should I be doing?
Adults aged 65 and over should:
- aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none. The more you do the better, even if it’s just light activity, like getting up to make a cup of tea
- do activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility on at least 2 days a week. This includes things like carrying heavy shopping bags or digging the garden
- do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, like brisk walking. Or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you’re already active, like fast swimming. Or a combination of both
- reduce time spent sitting or lying down. Break up long periods of not moving with some activity. Try getting up around once an hour. Setting a timer can help to remind you
- download this physical activity for adults infographic from Gov.UK that you could print off for use at home
I’m worried about falling, so is it best to avoid doing physical activity?
No. If you've fallen or you’re worried about falling, then you should do exercises to improve your strength, balance and flexibility. It will make you physically stronger and help you to feel more confident on your feet. Speak to your GP if you have any concerns about exercising. See our falls prevention page for useful tips on how to reduce your risk of having a fall.
Am I too old to get fit now?
It’s never too late to get active and improve your health. As you get older it’s even more important to remain active, if you want to stay healthy and maintain your independence. And who doesn't want that!
If you do not stay active, then the things you enjoy doing now may start to become harder, like gardening, playing with the grandchildren or meeting up with friends.
Take a look at the many benefits of exercise.
I want to get active, but where do I start?
It’s good to do activities that you enjoy, as you’ll be more likely to stick with them.
Walking is a great way to be more active and it is free. Here are some local walking routes you can try.
There are also plenty of free or low-cost local activities and sessions available across Staffordshire to help you get active. You can use Staffordshire Connects to find groups and activities to help you to get active in Staffordshire.
You don’t even have to leave your own home to get active. The NHS have got lots of different exercise videos you can try. These include sessions for beginners, strength exercises and pilates and yoga. They even have pilates exercise videos for people with specific health problems, such as back pain or arthritis, and even chair-based exercises.
Daily living equipment can also help you to get more active. There are things like pedal exercisers and hand cycles (so you can exercise sitting down). Equipment that makes gardening easier, like garden kneelers, garden stools on wheels, and adapted gardening tools. As well as things like incontinence swimwear. See the Living made easy website for more ideas.
Apps that can help!
There are an increasing number of health and wellbeing apps available. We are making it easier to help you find apps that can help you to stay healthy and well. Below are some of the top rated apps for exercise. You can also search a range of health and wellbeing apps across different areas, such as, stopping smoking, improving your mental wellbeing, keeping active and managing health conditions.
This is a free service for those looking for support with:
- physical activity
- falls prevention
- weight management
- stopping smoking
- social isolation and loneliness
- health checks
See the Everyone Health website for more information.
Falls management services
Search for on Staffordshire Connects to find information about falls management services in your local area.
We Are Undefeatable
This is a national campaign which is inspiring and supporting people with long-term health conditions to build physical activity into their lives.
We have a handy PowerPoint presentation about physical activity for older people that you might like to share with work colleagues, community groups or even at home with family and friends. If you would like to use this please see our training and activities page for this and other useful resources.