"If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented"
NHS website, 'Benefits of exercise'
Staying active is vital for longer term health. Decades before we hit retirement our bodies start to change, which increases our risk of falls and developing health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
But that doesn't mean the end of independence. Regular - even low level - exercise is proven to improve our health. And while going to a gym is great (most have cheaper 'off peak' rates for older visitors), it's not for everyone. 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 - click on the county map below. Outside of specific programmes, Walking for Health offers free walks nationwide.
- Use our Activity Finder to search for classes that have been uploaded by local instructors (search under your town, after which you can filter for activities for those 50+)
- 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. Surrey's Otago classes are relaxed, social and can help you regain confidence and maintain your independence.
See full details of all Otago strength and balance classes in Surrey
General muscle strengthening exercise
Loss of muscle mass is already underway by the time we hit our 40's, which combines with decreasing muscle endurance and flexibility to affect our coordination, stabilty and balance. This is where Otago classes or things like tai chi, pilates and yoga can play a part.
The NHS recommends we do two lots of strength-based exercise and 150 minutes of aerobic activity that leaves us slightly breathless each week. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:
• lifting weights
• working with resistance bands
• heavy gardening, such as digging
• carrying heavy shopping
• dancing and fitness classes
Walking and aerobic exercise
'Aerobic activity' like walking, cycling and swimming can be done under your own steam; even mowing the lawn counts. Walking has the added benefit that it's an easy to get out and meet others. Many of the free, instructor-led walks on the Walking for Health website are suitable for those with long term health conditions.
And if the weather isn't playing ball or you have mobility problems you can get daily exercise in bite-sized chunks thanks to free 10 Today workouts. (Terry, the main instructor, is also a Surrey resident.)
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.
- 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.