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I want to be active but I find exercise difficult

Moving more, in the best way for you

Her consultant thought she'd never walk again, but Sue's determination to keep moving every day in a way that worked for her has put her back on her feet.

We all know moving more is good for us. But knowing the level of activity that's right for you, especially if you've just had a fall, an operation, or are living with a long-term health condition, can be difficult.

Being more active isn't about working up a sweat. It's just about moving more each day in whatever way works for you. Below are some activities that could help.

Regular standing

If you sit down a lot during the day, try to get up once an hour. If that's not possible, moving your arms and legs for a few minutes will help.

Standing without help

Work towards pushing up from sitting in a chair to a standing position without using a walker or leaning on someone else.

  • Sit on a chair without arm rests, with your arms across your chest.
  • Lean forward.
  • Put your weight on your feet while leaning forward.
  • Stand up by straightening your knees. Sit down again.
  • Repeat this as many times as you feel able.
  • Try to do this exercise 3 to 5 times a day.

Gentle stretches

Try some gentle stretches in bed or a chair every day to keep supple. 

  • While sitting or lying, bring your toes towards your shin and then point them toward the floor. Repeat for both feet.
  • Sitting on a chair, lift your leg up off the seat, keeping your knee bent. Return to starting position and repeat.
  • Sitting on a chair, pull your toes up, tighten your thigh muscle and straighten your knee. Hold for about 5 seconds, if you can, and then slowly relax your leg. Repeat for both legs.
  • Sitting on a chair with your feet on the floor, bend your knee as much as possible. Repeat for both legs.
  • Sitting on a stool, let your back drop and get rounded, then use your back muscles to straighten your back and arch it (but not too much!).

Walking between rooms

Walk from one room to another and back if you're steady on your feet, and time how long it takes. Try to beat your time each day.

Worried about falls?

As we get older, we become slightly less steady on our feet. But there are lots of things you can do to keep yourself safe from falling.

Chair-based exercise classes

Lots of local Age UKs run chair-based exercises classes, where a trained instructor will take you through a series of simple, fun exercises to music you'll love.

They're also a great place to meet new people β€“ lots of people come on their own to exercise classes and leave with a group of new friends!

See if your local Age UK runs chair-based exercise classes

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If you're contemplating starting an exercise class, do it. No matter your problem, there's always some way of matching an exercise to your ability. And you'll find that you feel so much better.

Jean, who goes to Age UK Lincoln's seated exercise class

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Last updated: Oct 17 2019

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