Physical Activity for Over 55s

What should I be doing?

Ideally, you should look to vary the activities you do as there are different benefits connected to different forms of exercise.

Reducing cardiovascular risk Improving the health of your heart and circulation whilst also burning calories helps maintain a healthy weight. Good examples include: Moderate intensity physical activities:

  • Brisk walking
  • Ballroom dancing

Vigorous intensity physical activities:

  • Climbing stairs
  • Running

Maintaining physical strength

It’s important to strengthen your bones and muscles to give you better posture and balance. Strength training, and activity which improves endurance and balance, are particularly valuable in maintaining independent living. Physical activities that strengthen muscles involve using body weight or working against a resistance.

Improving balance and co-ordination

Tai Chi and Yoga combine varied elements of exercise including aerobic, strength training, core stability, flexibility and balance which can help improve limberness, faster reflex reaction times in the muscles, lower-body strength, stance stability and suppleness in the knee joints.

People practising these activities have also experienced better quality of sleep, memory recall, self-esteem and increased energy levels.

What does ageing well look like in Cornwall?

In this podcast Cornwall Council speaks to people in Cornwall about ageing well. 

They talk about what you can do for yourself to age well, the best thing about getting older, how we can all prepare for older age and reflections on society’s biggest misconceptions around ageing.

How much should I be doing?

If you haven’t done any exercise for a while – and it’s estimated that four out of 10 people over 50 do little or no exercise – then start gently and build up gradually. If you’re exercising for the first time or are unsure if you should try a particular activity, talk to your GP.

Older adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits, including maintenance of good physical and cognitive function.

Older adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more – one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.

For those who are already regularly active at moderate intensity, comparable benefits can be achieved through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

Older adults should undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength and balance at least two days a week and minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.