Staying active when over 55

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I woke up this morning feeling pretty motivated. I knew I had a lot of work to do, so I’d had to cancel my 10.30am yoga class. ‘It’s okay,’ I thought to myself, ‘I’ll just do some stretching at home instead!’

I tried to touch my toes and made it to my knees.

I decided it was probably best to just go and make a cup of tea instead.

I may only be 41, but already I can feel my body starting to age, and I know that if I want to stay active as I get older then I’m going to have to make changes in my life to keep myself moving. It’s tough though when Tipping Point is on TV right? I am trying – I’ve started cycling a lot more, which I can definitely feel in my legs, and I do have a gym membership, which kind of counts even if I have to cancel the classes right??

(It does not.)

Here are a few ideas to help you stay active, especially once you get past 55.

Leave the car at home

Whenever you can, ditch the car and walk or cycle instead. It might feel like a small thing, but just these little amounts of exercise every day all add up, and help you to form healthy habits going forward. You can also feel good about yourself knowing you’re doing your bit for the environment, you’ll save money on fuel and parking AND you get to give your mental well-being a boost.

Make adaptations where you need to

Making changes in your home to make it more accessible isn’t about giving up, it’s about recognising that perhaps you aren’t as flexible as you once were and doing something that means you can carry on living your day to day live in the way YOU want to.

When I get to that age, I’d definitely consider a walk-in shower or bath for example, rather than feeling worried about enjoying a shower.

Spend time with younger people

I’ve recently started volunteering as a Brownie leader and at our session last night we did circus skills. Whereas on a normal evening I might be sat at home on the sofa working or watching Love Island, last night I was juggling, balancing peacock feathers on my face and I even had a go at stilt walking!

Being around younger kids gives me that extra bit of energy and enthusiasm – it’s hard not to feel younger when you’re surrounded by an excited pack of eight year olds!

Find an activity you love

As I’ve shown this morning by cancelling my class, if you’re just not into something then you’re much less likely to stick at it. Experiment with different types of physical activity until you find something that you really love, and you’ll take part more regularly.

Perhaps a team game would give you more of a sense of commitment? A few years ago I joined a netball team, made up of older women getting back into sport for the first time in years, and absolutely adored it. Being part of a team encouraged me to go every week and I got a lot from it physically and socially.

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