Stay active

Physical activity and exercise can help you stay healthy, energetic and independent as you get older. There are lots of ways to get active and it’s not all about exercising. Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, from walking and gardening to recreational sport.

Adults aged 65 and over should:

If you've had a fall, or are worried about falling, doing exercises to improve your strength, balance and flexibility will help to make you stronger and feel more confident on your feet.

Find out more on the NHS website: 


  • Even doing exercises in a chair can help regulate your sleep, improve your sense of wellbeing and reduce stress.
  • Completing daily exercises long-term is proven to maintain physical abilities by helping to:
    • increase: strength, power, flexibility, your ability to perform daily tasks, balance
    • reduce: depression, body fat, arthritic pain, postural blood pressure issues, risk of falls

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Exercises for your daily routine

Try to work these exercises into your daily routine:

1. Ankle and wrist movement

  • Rotate 10 times in each direction, repeating for both right and left sides.

2. Seated leg marching

  • Lift knees as high as possible, march briskly for 30 seconds.
  • Complete 3 sets of 30 seconds.
  • Aim to get mildly short of breath and rest between sets.

3. Seated bending and straightening knees

  • Straighten the knee and tense the thigh muscle. Hold for 5 seconds. Now fully bend knee under the chair, tensing the muscle at the back of the thigh. Hold for five seconds.
  • Repeat 10 straight and 10 bends, both right and left legs.

4. Seated arm lifts

  • This exercise can be complete with a lightweight (e.g., a small bottle of water) if you wish.
  • Start at the shoulder height and press your arm up towards the ceiling, as close to the ear as possible. Hold for five seconds.
  • Complete 10 times on the right and left sides.

5. Seated spinal rotations

  • Sit tall in your chair and place your hands across your chest.
  • Turn to look behind you to right and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Slowly rotate to the other side and do the same.
  • Repeat 10 times on the right and left sides.

Please note: Only complete the exercises below if you are able to walk around the house without assistance from another person. If walking with supervision is required to maintain safety, complete exercises 1-5 only - do not attempt exercises 6 and 7.

6. Sit and stand

  • Practise moving from sitting to standing from your main chair. Think about the following stages for good technique:
    • Move bottom forwards in the chair
    • Tuck feet back under the chair
    • Lean head and shoulders forward over feet (nose over toes)
    • Use arms and legs to push up into a standing position
    • Maintain chest forward position - hold walking aid if appropriate

7. Brisk walking (with a walking aid if you usually use one)

  • Practise walking at your usual level i.e., indoors vs outdoors
  • Walk at a brisk but steady pace until you feel short of breath. Rest in a seated position
  • Complete at least 3 walking sets per day - more is beneficial as long as you do not feel overly fatigued by doing this exercise.

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What to look out for and what to do if things change

If you've been inactive for a while, you can gradually build up your activity to reach the recommended levels. You'll still be improving your health in the process, and you'll reduce your risk of falls and other ailments. Speak to your GP if you have any concerns about exercising.

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Help and support networks (professional/community)

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Playing tennis

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Find an activity

There are lots more ideas and useful links to help older people in Haringey stay fit and active on Haringey’s Active Retirement page.

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Page last updated:

February 20, 2023