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National Friendly's Top 5 Exercises for Over 50s

A recent article from ‘Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet’ outlined the most dangerous exercises you can do if you’re over 50. Here at National Friendly we thought how about 5 nice and simple exercises that keep you safe and sound whilst helping you to keep fit and healthy!

Physical activity is known to help with joint pains, symptoms of menopause and sleep problems whilst also lowering risk of heart disease, diabetes and aiding in weight control.

As with all exercise, if you’re have not previously been very active it is a good idea to get the all clear from your GP before starting.


Aerobic exercise such as swimming can give you the benefits of a cardio workout without building up a great sweat! Swimming can be gentle on your joints and muscles while the water keeps you cool. This can allow you to keep going longer in the pool than if you were out for run.

Just being in the water can help you shake off the stress and relax the mind. If swimming is something you’d like to take up but feel it might be too late, don’t worry! You will be sure to find classes at your local pool or gym that can help you get going.

Swimming will exercise your entire body including your core, arms, legs, glutes and back so it really does tick all the boxes.


There’s nothing like stretching to help maintain flexibility. Through stretching you can also reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness.

Becoming increasingly popular day by day, exercise programs such as Yoga and Pilates are great forms of stretching, building core body strength and increasing stability.

With over 100 different forms of yoga, there’s guaranteed to be one to fit your needs and ability level ranging from fast-paced and intense to gentle and relaxing sessions.

Strength training

For a balanced fitness program, strength training is essential to go alongside activities like walking, cycling or jogging. Lifting even the most basic of weights can slow muscle loss that comes with later life, cut your risk of injury and help ease arthritis pain.

This is a great exercise to do in the comfort of your own home or a local gym. Exercise experts say to start with a hand weight that is comfortable for you to handle for eight repetitions of a simple strength exercise and slowly build this up until you are able to complete 12 reps.

Sitting exercises

Now for something a little gentler, these sitting exercises can help improve your mobility, prevent falls and are practical for home exercise.

These exercises do require a sturdy chair, stable and solid without wheels. The NHS Choices website gives you 7 different exercises to try out complete with instructions and pictures to help guide you along the way.

To access these sitting exercises, please follow this link:


Now this is an exercise with a few possibilities. Whilst many exercises can feel daunting to start up, whether that be due to little confidence in yourself or a cost that you are unsure if you can spare, walking requires neither of these worries.

Easy to start, this exercise can simply be a brisk walk round the block, a mile on a local footpath or a day-to-day commute (within reason!). Walking is a great way to push yourself to find new places around your local area, socialise with local walking groups or simply just get a bit of fresh air that you might not already get.


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