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Older people want to do more exercise!

Published on 09 July 2012 11:30 PM

Older people want to do more exercise but less than half are doing the recommended amount

New research announced for Age UK's Gym Open Day, Tuesday 10 July 2012

 Age UK reveals today that less than half of over 55s are doing the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week with one in eight not doing any exercise at all(1). But the research released to mark Age UK's first free Gym Open Day (Tuesday, 10 July 2012) highlights that three in ten would like to take part in more exercise.

Age UK is calling on everyone aged 55+ to get down to their local gym today to try out gym facilities for free; from joining an exercise class, to taking a dip in the pool or trying out the treadmill. Fitness chains taking part include Bannatynes, David Lloyd Leisure Ltd, LA fitness and Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centres.

Older people with dumbellsWhilst the new research shows many older people are keen walkers (82%) and often undertake activities around the home such as gardening (75%), only 8% currently go to the gym regularly and 8% do aerobic exercise(2). However, older people are keen to take part in more exercise and try something new. Over a quarter (27%) said they wanted to try swimming, with 15% mentioning they would be interested in going to the gym, 14% keen to go along to classes such as yoga or Pilates and 12% interested in aerobic exercise(3). More than one in five (22%) also mentioned that they prefer to exercise in a group where they may or may not know people(4).

Emma Spragg, Head of Wellbeing Services at Age UK, said: 'Exercise is good for your physical and mental health whatever your age, but it's especially important as we get older, so it's great that this research shows that people want to keep more active in later life. We hope our Gym Open Day will encourage people to get involved and try something new for free today.

'This is a great opportunity to discover or rediscover how exercise can suit your lifestyle and level of ability, and find out just how rewarding keeping fit can be. Anyone over the age of 55 will be able to visit one of the participating gyms today for free to take part in a range of activities or simply pick up some information guides packed with health and wellbeing advice.'

Over 270 gyms across the country will be opening their doors for Age UK's Gym Open Day today. To find out which gyms you can visit in your local area today please visit or call 0800 169 6565.

People who are unable to go along to a gym and want to find out more about the range health and wellbeing activities in their area should contact their local Age UK for more information. For contact details visit To download Age UK's free Healthy Living guide and to find some helpful tips and exercise advice visit


Notes to editors:

For any media enquiries or photography, please call Sarah Scott on 020 3033 1434 or email

Age UK
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over seven million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and travel and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we").  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity). 

Age UK Exercise Survey by ICM Research: ICM interviewed a random sample of 1002 adults aged 55+ via CATI between 22nd June - 1st July 2012.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at .

1) Age UK Exercise Survey by ICM Research shows 56% of older people say they are doing less than the Government guidelines of the recommended weekly amount of physical exercise and 13% say they are doing none at all. Department of Health UK physical activity guidelines for adults is 2.5 hours per week. The ICM poll did not cover the muscle-strengthening exercise also in the current DH guidelines. Details of the age-related exercise guidelines can be found on the opens link in new windowNHS Choices website.

2) Respondents were asked "What regular physical activities do you do? (By which we mean something that raises your heartbeat and you do for more than 10 minutes at least once a week). They were asked about all activities that applied to them - Age UK Exercise Survey by ICM Research

3) Respondents were asked "Which (if any) of the following types of physical activity/exercise would you like to try? They were asked about all activities that applied to them - Age UK Exercise Survey by ICM Research

4) Age UK Exercise Survey by ICM Research

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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