Has there been a change in your life that means you are less active?

By Bob, Selsdon

This was something that I faced when I retired from work and started a new stage in my life - as a pensioner. People a lot younger than me may face the same challenge of staying active but for different reasons. However, there may be something in my circumstances that could resonate with you.

After my initial enthusiasm for travel that was stimulated by the free travel on local buses, trams and trains, I soon realised that more sitting and less walking wasn't helping me. The condition of my knees prevented me from running or jogging but walking or swimming seemed good alternatives. Eventually I settled on walking and joined a local group - Croydon Health Walks, first once a week and then more frequently.

At first, I found that a one or two hour walk tired me out, but within a month or two I was feeling livelier all day and hardly noticing the walk. 

My advice would be to build up gradually, improving your fitness over time. Being more active can help you lose weight and keep that weight off. At least doing more than you did before is a good start!

Walking is free and a good, if not the simplest, way of getting fitter. I started walking to the shops rather than taking the car for smaller errands and even getting off the bus a stop earlier or later.

I was soon asked if I fancied being a walk leader. The Croydon group trained me, for free, and I now lead or help with a couple of walks a week. That commitment to volunteer isn't for everyone, but it did force me to walk, even if it looked like rain. The group also asked if I was interested in Nordic Walking and I took to it enthusiastically! The walking poles took pressure off my dodgy knees, I loved it and now teach others.

You may find something else suits you better, the Park Run on Saturdays is very popular and others prefer swimming, tennis, golf, dancing (sorry not me!), cycling or playing with your children or grandchildren. Just pick something you love doing and get more active by building on that.



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