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You can never have enough ideas for things to do as everyone likes or is attracted to different activities and have different skill sets. Try these on for a fit…

SWIMMING – a natural, healthy activity which puts less strain on the joints as you are supported by the water but also gives you good resistance exercise. Many public pools offer classes for the over 50’s and those with arthritis in particular. (Sometimes you can get referred by your GP.) The added advantage is better breathing too. As you will be submerged much of the time and working away with people of similar ages who come in all shapes and sizes, once you are over the getting unclothed embarrassment and get engaged you will love it. Remember what it was like as a child going to the beach? Widely available.

WILD SWIMMING – only recommended for those who are proficient swimmers – this is when you swim in open / “wild” water e.g. natural ponds and lakes, rivers and streams; harbours and the sea, often is stunning parts of the country. If you don’t know the area ALWAYS go with a friend so safety. There can be rip currents and conditions which would prevent you some swimming which you must be aware of.

Safety considerations and precautions are important. A wet suit or drysuit and possibly buoyancy aid are also useful, especially as water temperatures can be low and hypothermia should be avoided. The benefits though – exhilarating swimming and locations. Free! Go when you want.

LINE DANCING or SAMBA DANCING. There are frequently local specialised dancing groups – perhaps at the local pub once a month or a village hall or similar. Keep an eye out in the local press – some organisers have their own websites too. If you think the faster styles of dance are too energetic, choose another one! Some can even be done as a wheelchair user!

COUNTRY or FOLK MUSIC – Can you play an instrument? Can you sing old songs and ballads? Do you like a good ale or beer? Pop-up and regular music gigs at local venues are a great way to have a laugh, dance or tap to the beat and join in too. If you play an instrument – even better! You are very welcome to bring it along and perform. They are very welcoming and fun.

DRUMMING / SAMBA MUSIC – you don’t need to be a musician to join in for this! It is fun, the instruments are quite cheap if you want your own. Help you sense of timing and musicality – and its suitable for everyone – so bring your grandchildren along too!

FITNESS GROUPS / “GYM” CLASSES – these can be tailored for the over-50’s. The sessions are low impact, with a focus on balance, strength, and flexibility. There are also GP-referred exercise classes especially for those who have had heart surgery or pin from arthritis etc. By having an instructor on hand at all times you can get specialised care and attention and they can create personalised programmes too.

RAINBOW – This social group for 50+ lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is a way to make new friends and share support. The gang meets twice a month for coffee, and sometimes enjoy group outings (such as trips to local gardens) and is based in Eastbourne but I am sure there are others around the country. www.eastbournerainbow.co.uk

NORDIC WALKING. The technique is an enhanced form of walking using poles that increases muscle use and creates a cardiovascular workout for all four limbs. It also increases your speed and confidence – and you get two extra points of contact on the ground! Often held in beautiful countryside – National Parks, it is sociable too and frequently finishes at a pub or coffee shop.

I hope you have found this a useful guide to the many activities that are easily available for the older generation – whatever you physical or mental levels of health. If you think I have forgotten about an important activity – please let me know! Thank you.

Top Tip! Enrol and encourage a friend to join in a new activity WITH you – you can then keep each other inspired, continuing to go when you might be tempted to “give it a miss today” and have one person you know to talk to, to start with.

© Great Guidelines for Later Life 2017. All Rights Reserved.


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