THE BLOG

Keeping A Spring In Your Step

16/01/2017 14:14 GMT | Updated 16/01/2017 14:14 GMT

Exercise is an essential part of our lives. Not only does it keep us fit, it better equips us to fight diseases and it helps us maintain a good mental state. In other words, exercise makes us happy and healthy - and this is true at any age.

According to the NHS, over 1 in 4 British adults are overweight. Some of the many diseases which are directly linked to obesity include diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight through a good diet and exercise is therefore vital in helping to reduce your chance of developing these.

Of course, we can't expect to exercise in the same way for our whole lives. A 75 year old will have a very different work-out plan to a 20 year old. There are no set rules about how one should exercise and it's important that everyone listens to their bodies and chooses activities that are right for them.

That's one of the great things about exercise - the diversity of it. Whether you prefer being inside or outdoors, part of a group or by yourself, there are hundreds of ways to keep active available to all of us. This means that everyone can find something that works for them, and there are enough options available to stop us from getting bored of the same old thing!

Recent findings show that far too many retirees are failing to get enough exercise - or, in many cases, any exercise at all. Even though healthy living has never been more in vogue, almost a quarter (23%) of people aged 65 and above living in the UK do absolutely no exercise in a typical week.

These figures come from our regular Silver Census, which questions 1,000 over 65s in the UK on a range of issues relevant to them. These findings make it abundantly clear that more needs to be done to help people keep active in older age.

What's more, we know that people want to be active in retirement. People have more time on their hands to try new things and focus on their own wellness - a luxury not always available to those in full time employment. The vast majority (90%) of Britain's over 65's think that something needs to be done to help people get regular exercise, implying that the desire is there but it isn't always carried out.

So for those who are struggling to keep fit, they need to think about taking small steps which can lead towards a considerable change. Whatever your current level of fitness there are simple ways to keep active from chair-based exercises through to walking the dog or even playing a game of tennis, if your level of fitness permits.

The good news is that there are lots of exercises that are great for people later on, like pilates or swimming. These are examples of exercises that are easy on joints and muscles but are great at building whole-body strength and stability.

Furthermore, there are hundreds of small things that people might not even think are exercises, but are in fact excellent (and fun) ways to keep active - like walking to the shop each day or playing with grandchildren.

Growing older is something to be embraced. Retirement is a wonderful stage of life with a huge number of opportunities, but in order to enjoy it to its fullest we need to have the energy and enthusiasm to really throw ourselves into it. Keeping fit and healthy is a great start.