Ideas to stay active in later life

Ideas to stay active in later life

Keeping up our physical activity and exercise as we get older is fundamental to our health and wellbeing and has so many benefits for us including:

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer, and dementia
  • Lower risk of falls
  • Psychological well being and mental health
  • Brain function (including memory, reasoning and reaction time)
  • Sleep quality and ability to sleep

When choosing a physical activity or exercise make sure it’s something that makes you feel good and works into your routine and lifestyle. As Coronavirus restrictions have been easing there are increasing options to get active as well as meet others, get outdoors, or (if you prefer) to workout in the comfort of your own home.

Not sure where to start? Check out some of our ideas for inspiration:

Walking Football

This sport stays true to the fun and social nature of football, without the need for running or contact. It’s played entirely at walking pace and is aimed at both men and women over the age of 50; however many people play well into their 70’s and 80’s!

There are teams all over the UK who play and train together, as well as competing against other local teams in competitive matches and competitions.

Table Tennis

Table tennis clubs have started up again across the UK and most are open to anyone regardless of age or ability! Many clubs offer informal or over-50’s sessions where you can come along to play and socialise. Come with a partner or come alone as there will be plenty of other people to play against. Table tennis can be played seated or standing so no matter what your level of fitness or ability you are welcome to join!

Walking and Rambling Groups

Enjoy being outdoors, exploring, and spending time with others who enjoy the same? These groups are a great way to do just that; providing opportunities to enjoy the countryside with like-minded people. Walks vary in distance and location so there tends to be something for everyone no matter what your level of fitness. These groups are social too; and they often also organise meals out, games nights and more.


Whether you danced when you were younger but haven’t done it in a while, or you’re completely new to it; it’s never too late to throw some shapes! There are dance fitness groups and adult dance classes across the UK that support a wide range of abilities and experience, where you can also meet others and have fun! Whether it’s salsa dancing, ballet, tap; find what you enjoy and get moving!

Home workouts

If you find it difficult to get out and about there are lots of ways to get active from the comfort of your own home; including yoga and dance classes, and home workouts that you can either do live with an instructor or pre-recorded so you can do it in your own time. There are seated workout options too so that no matter what your ability there is something for everyone.

Please note that however you want to stay active, or build up more activity in to your routine, make sure that you start at a manageable pace that suits you and you can build up gradually. If in any doubt please consult your GP or visit the NHS website for further information and guidance.


Carter, N.D. et al (2001) Exercise in the Prevention of Falls in Older People, Sports Medicine, 31, pp. 427–438. []

Clarkson-Smith, L. & Hartley, A.A. (1989) Relationships between physical exercise and cognitive abilities in older adults. Psychology and Aging, 4(2), pp. 183–189. []

Hartescu, I, Morgan, K. & Stevinson, C.D. (2015) Increased physical activity improves sleep and mood outcomes in inactive people with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial, Journal of Sleep Research, 24(5), pp. 526-34. []

Hogan, C.L. et al (2013) Exercise holds immediate benefits for affect and cognition in younger and older adults, Psychology & Aging, 28(2), pp. 587–594. []

Livingston, G. et al (2017) Dementia prevention, intervention, and care, The Lancet, 390(10113), pp. 2673–2734.

Windle, G. et al (2010) Is exercise effective in promoting mental well-being in older age? A systematic review, Aging & Mental Health, 6, pp. 652-669. []

World Health Organisation (2018) Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: more active people for a healthier world, Online. []

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