Along with a balanced diet, regular exercise is really important for staying happy and healthy as we age. Here we look at some popular ways to stay fit – ranging from outdoor hobbies to group classes.

Getting older can sometimes make it difficult to exercise regularly. But staying active can have so many benefits. From simple things like getting out of your chair more easily, to staying steady on your feet and avoiding falls.

This doesn’t mean we all need to take up jogging round the park. There are plenty of gentle forms of exercise that make a real difference to your health – and provide great reasons for leaving the house and meeting new people.

1. Walking

Our metabolisms slow down as we get older, making it easier to put on weight. A daily walk can be a good way to burn up some energy – and can lower the chance of developing health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. It’s also a great way to clear your head, and help lift your mood.

2. Gardening

As the weather gets warmer, what better time to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the garden? Pulling weeds and planting flowers can help improve your strength and flexibility. And you also get the pleasure of watching your handiwork grow. If you don’t have a garden of your own, you could get in touch with a local gardening club.

3. Swimming

Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do at any age, as the water supports your weight while giving you a gentle, full-body workout.

4. Dancing

From ballroom to tango and salsa, there are plenty of dance classes out there. This is a wonderful, fun way to get fit, learn something new, and meet people all at the same time.

5. Something a little different...

If you’d like to try an exercise class, there are usually plenty on offer at most local sports centres. If you’d like to improve your strength, posture and balance, why not try Tai Chi – a low-intensity martial art based on rhythmic movements? Yoga is also a popular choice for improving muscle strength and flexibility, and it can also relax the mind.

If you’re looking for something a little more energetic you could take part in step aerobics, which helps burn calories quickly. Aqua aerobics is a good option, as the water supports your body and reduces the impact of exercise on your joints.

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