Staying active is vital for longer term health, whatever our age.
Decades before we hit retirement, our bodies start to change. Natural muscle loss is already underway in our 40's, while body fat typically increases to the point where our percentage has doubled by age 75. Worsening eyesight and hearing can add to balance problems when we're older, while bones tend to shrink in size and density thanks to lives that are less active than before.
But that doesn't mean the end of independence. Regular - even low level - exercise is proven to lessen the risk of health conditions and falls. And while going to gym is great, whatever our age (most have cheaper 'off peak' rates), it's not always realistic. Simply walking, taking the stairs, pushing the vacuum cleaner around or even just standing up when the ads come on the telly is better than sitting on the sofa.
Activities across Surrey
- You can find out about our popular Otago Strength and Balance classes and locate your nearest session.
- Some councils run walks for specific health conditions including diabetes and dementia (the latter for carers as much as those directly affected) - see the county map below. Outside of specific programmes, Walking for Health offers free walks nationwide.
- Use our Activity Finder to search for local classes although please note that it's down to providers / instructors themselves to upload their information (so we can't guarantee it's comprehensive).
- Click on your borough/district below to find out what council-recognised activities are happening near you.
If you still can't see what you're looking for, contact the sports development officer at your local council who may be able to help.
Strength and balance classes can help you get stronger, improve your balance and become more mobile - even if you have osteoporosis - and go some way to meeting NHS recommendations for physical activity. Tai chi, pilates and yoga can also help.
Classes are relaxed, social and can help you regain confidence and maintain your independence.
See Otago strength and balance classes in Surrey
Walking and aerobic exercise
"If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented".
The NHS recommends we do two lots of strength-based exercise for the major muscles, and 150 minutes of aerobic activity that leaves us slightly out of breath each week. Otago classes will help maintain muscle but there are plenty of other ways to keep yourself strong; heavy gardening (such as digging), weights, dancing - even carrying bags of groceries home from your local shop.
'Aerobic activity' can easily be done under your own steam - like walking (including to the bus), cycling and swimming. Even mowing the lawn counts. Walking has the added benefit that it's an easy way to meet others. You can find plenty of free, instructor-led walks on the Walking for Health website, many of which are suitable for those with long term health conditions.
And if the weather isn't playing ball you can get daily exercise in bite-sized chunks thanks to free 10 Today workouts. These are designed for the over 65's and are suitable for those with a mobility problem too. (Terry, a regular instructor, lives in a care home here in Surrey.)
Bowls clubs across Surrey run open days but often welcome newcomers outside of these times. Click on the links to find your nearest club (please note clubs in Spelthorne come under the Middlesex County Bowls Association).
Think you're too old for something new? If you've watched Pat's video above you'll know she recently bought her first pair or trainers, but you can also take inspiration from this trio who gave a previous programme called Get active 50+ a go. Talk about This Girl Can; these ladies do:
- Read Kym's story of taking up jogging and completing things she never thought possible with a supportive, local group.
- Learn more about Audrey's introduction to golf games and her winning ways - at 92 years young.
- Or discover how Carol overcame a fear of water which started when she was at primary school.