Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast

Essential exercises for the over 50s


1st Jan 2015 Wellbeing

Essential exercises for the over 50s

By adding exercise to your routine, you can help stave off heart disease, diabetes, dementia, strokes and much more. Combine keeping active with a healthy diet and lifestyle to reap the most benefits!

As we age, it's easy to become complacent about exercise, but it's incredibly important for your health and wellbeing to stay active and keep fit.

Not only does regular exercise protect against certain diseases that become more common as you get older, but it's also a great way to socialise and look after your mental health.

Bending it like Beckham

Joints can often become a problem as we get older, and exercising them correctly can help to preserve them for as long as possible.

Running is a high-impact type of exercise that can be bad for the joints in excess, so it's something to avoid if you do have problems with your knees, hips or ankles.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise though, and some low impact types of exercise are some of the most fun!

Swimming and cycling are both easy on the joints and a fantastic way to take some gentle exercise following any kind of injury. Take a dip and swim some lengths or pack a picnic and hop on your bike - either way, you'll get your pulse racing without risking further damage.

Soothing stretches

Keeping supple is also important as we get older, and one of the best ways to add some stretches into your daily routine is by taking a Pilates class.

Pilates was originally designed by Joseph Pilates, a German physical-culturist. He came up with the system in order to improve flexibility, build strength, and develop control and endurance throughout the body; it is often used by physiotherapists and sports doctors as well as in exercise classes around the world.

Like swimming and cycling, Pilates is a low impact exercise but instead of focusing on cardiovascular health, it promotes flexibility. As it is often taught in a class environment, it's a good way to get out and about and socialise with a new group of people.

Using your bodyweight 

Cardio and stretches are important, but the other key type of exercise is strength training. Bodyweight exercises are easy to do at home and can improve your muscle conditioning, as well as balance and co-ordination.

There are plenty of exercises available online, but one that's good for strengthening the legs is squats.

Grab the back of a chair and place your feet about shoulder width apart, then lower yourself as far as possible and as slowly as you can, keeping your back straight at all times. Raise yourself back up to a standing position slowly, clenching your buttocks as you do, and repeat five times every day. 

The most important way to make sure that you stay fighting fit is to keep at it - fitness decreases at a much quicker speed in older people so it's important not to let exercise fall by the wayside. Even steps as simple as swapping the lift for stairs or walking to work could help keep your body healthy.


This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit