Easy exercises that can be of benefit to older people

It's important to stay active as we age


Swimming or walking briskly will raise heart and breathing rates, benefit the cardiovascular system and help keep weight in check. Exercising in a swimming pool can include walking, squats, marching and side-stepping as well as swimming. All these activities improve fitness and are low impact on the joints.


Tai chi, racquet sports and Pilates can help maintain muscle mass and improve posture and stability. Stretching muscles through activities such as such as Tai chi or yoga will help promote flexibility and range of motion in joints.


Joining a gym is a good way to access resistance machines or weights. Most gyms have personal trainers or staff who can show you how to use the machines safely.


The following exercises are recommended by physiotherapists to help improve coordination and balance in older people. They should be done daily, or at least twice a week.

Sit to stand: Sit tall near the front of a chair with your feet slightly back. Lean forwards slightly and stand up (with your hands on the chair if needed). Step back until your legs touch the chair, then slowly lower yourself back into the chair. Repeat 10 times.

Heel raises: Stand tall, holding on to a sturdy surface such as the kitchen sink or worktop, then lift your heels off the floor, taking your weight into your big toes. Try not to lean forwards or backwards. Hold for three seconds, then lower with control. Repeat 10 times.

Toe raises: Stand tall holding the same support, then raise your toes, taking your weight on your heels. Don't stick your bottom out. Hold for three seconds, then lower with control. Repeat 10 times.

One leg stand: Stand close to your support and hold it with one hand. Balance on one leg, keeping the supported knee soft and your posture upright. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

Heel-toe stand: Stand tall, with one hand on your support. Put one foot directly in front of the other to make a straight line. Look ahead, take your hand off the support as you're able and balance for 10 seconds. Take the front foot back to hip-width apart. Then place the other foot in front and balance for 10 seconds.

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