According to Sport England’s recent survey, the nation is getting more active – with those aged 55+ boosting the results.
The Active Lives Adult survey shows an increase in the number of people 55 and over who are classed as ‘fairly active’ or ‘active,’ meaning they clock up 150 minutes of exercise per week.
With the wealth of activities on offer for over 55s in Bristol, it could well be local residents who have helped cause the jump.
Cressida Childs, who teaches various over 55s classes at The Park Centre in Knowle, said:
I’ve always taught dance and fitness as a career and now I’m at that age myself, I can understand where people are coming from – the pressures people face with their health and with caring for others, for instance.”
Activities like dance and tai chi are known to be particularly beneficial to older people, as they improve strength, balance and flexibility, leading to better stability and fewer injuries in later life. They are also great for brain function, due to the combination of exercise and learning a routine.
However, any increase in activity has benefits: such as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer. And it’s not just physical health which is improved by exercise, as the study shows a positive correlation with the amount of activity and increased mental wellbeing, as well as better social connections.
As one walking netball participant said:
“It’s not just for general health and keeping more mobile, the social side is a huge benefit and very supportive.”
What’s important to remember is that no-one is too unfit, too old or in too poor health to join in. All ages from 55 and up attend the sessions and exercises can be adapted to all abilities: everyone can reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle.
A member of the walking netball group said:
“It keeps me moving, you don’t have to be super fit. I have chronic conditions but I enjoy it.”
Our website and popular ‘What’s On’ guides list activities available across Bristol specifically for people aged 55+, including sports, exercise and physical activity groups.
There’s never been a better time to get active – find out what’s on in your local area.
Image: Cressida Childs leading an over-55s dance class at Knowle West Fest 2019, supported by LinkAge Network.