Staying Active In Later Life

Staying Active In Later Life

Author: Philippa Thompson

Staying fit and active in later life is a crucial factor in maintaining your independence, ensuring you enjoy a good quality of life and protecting you against illnesses including heart disease, cancer and depression. However, sometimes it’s a lot easier said than done. As you get older it’s common for joints to get achier, muscles to get weaker and stamina to reduce. When you then add the impact of any health complications, it can soon start to feel easier to do nothing.

Why it’s important to stay active

You may well have been extremely active in your earlier years; taking care of children and even grandchildren, working hard and pursuing leisure activities. In fact, you may have spent many years yearning for the day when you could take it a little easier.

However, while you will no doubt need to take things a little slower, staying active in later life offers a raft of benefits. By staying active you are likely to:

How to get started

    • Increase the time you are able to live an independent life
    • Maintain your social life
    • Reduce the risk of falls and illnesses
    • Enhance your emotional and mental health.

    If illness or injury has led you to be inactive for a long time, it might feel daunting to start exercising. In this situation, it’s important to take things slowly. If you have spent a lot of time sitting, or in bed, then initially just standing up for a short time every hour or so through the day will be a good start.

    You can progress from this to short walks around your home, or even into the garden providing you are steady enough on your feet. If you’re a little unsteady, it’s a good idea to make sure you have someone around to help you.

    If standing is too much of a struggle, you can introduce gentle stretches to your day as a way to help your muscles stay supple.

    Keeping active

    If you’ve been able to maintain a reasonable level of fitness, then getting older is no reason to stop altogether. Make sure that you’re listening to your body and don’t overexert yourself.

    Activities that cause you to get a little hot and out of breath are good for your cardiovascular system; swimming, walking and even gardening are all great options.

    Join a club or a class

    Whether you are learning a new activity or re-engaging in a former hobby, finding a club is a brilliant way to increase your motivation. You’ll make new friends whilst you brush up on your skills or learn new ones.

    Another advantage to joining a club is the accountability that it brings. Whether you are committing to attending a gardening club, partnering with a fellow member in a dance or joining a group for a walk, knowing that others will be expecting you is a powerful motivator on the days you’d rather stay home! As the saying goes, “you only regret the workouts you didn’t do”.

    Check with your GP

    You should always check with your GP before embarking on a new exercise regime. This advice applies to anyone who is new to exercise and most activities can be adapted to cater for different abilities and conditions.

    The NHS has published some helpful guidance for physical activity for over 65s, you can find it here.

    Have fun

    The most important thing to remember is, whatever activity you’re doing – it should be fun. When you enjoy yourself, you will look forward to the next time and will be more likely to create a lifelong habit.

    Keeping fit at The Dower House

    Residents at The Dower House are encouraged to keep as fit and active as possible. With five and a half acres of beautiful gardens to explore, weekly keep-fit classes led by our visiting physio and regular day-trips out to local beauty spots, there is plenty of choice.

    To find out more about life at the Dower House, why not book an appointment to join us for lunch and a tour of the house and grounds. Simply call 01962 882848.

    < Back to all Blog posts

    Enjoy a taste of life at The Dower House

    Join us for a tour of the house to experience the welcoming, homely atmosphere. Book a visit now, we’d be delighted to welcome you.