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Retiring from Work Shouldn’t Mean Retiring from Life!

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Bristol Manager and Physio Leanne Plenge explains why staying active in older years helps us to do more of the things we love.

I recently visited The Hawthorns Retirement Village in Clevedon and met up with Jenny Hulme their Activities Co-Ordinator. It was a lovely sunny day and their position perched on the edge of the River Avon with views over to Wales was spectacular. Jenny tells me that a large majority of their clients retired from high demand business roles in London and Birmingham and have retired to Clevedon to be near relatives or by the sea, and you can easily see what draws them there when you visit. Jenny is a dynamic and passionate believer in the benefits of keeping busy into older age. She runs a full and varied programme of events at The Hawthorns with at least four or five different activities per day including Tai Chi, Pilates, Improve Your Balance sessions as well as dilemma discussion.

Exercise and rehab - older woman with weightI have been seeing clients between the ages of 65 – 100 over the last ten years and I completely agree with Jenny’s approach.  Over the years, I have realised that those that have kept themselves active by walking regularly, doing a favoured sport or local exercise group or merely stretching every morning as part of a regular routine, are the ones that spring easier out of the chair to greet me, have less falls and have less aches and pains in general. They are also the ones that stay sharper of mind and I think we can attribute some of this to regular exercise too, possibly due to efficient blood flow to the brain and a healthier cardiovascular system.

As we get older it is all too easy to drop those slightly harder day to day activities like heading out for a walk or attending a class, especially if a bout of illness sets you back for a few weeks. It seems all too hard to get back into regular exercise habits or confidence can be lost and be tricky to regain. So, what do we recommend? Stay as active as possible, incorporate balance exercises into your weekly programme by doing Tai Chi or exercises recommended by your physiotherapist and stretch regularly to stop your joints getting stiffer.  This will enable you to use your body to the best of its ability. It’s also a really good idea to do regular strength work of some form for your major muscle groups as these muscles do become naturally weaker as we get older.  However, there is no exercise that cannot be achieved at both 18 and 80, it just needs to be tailored to the individual and then it becomes very realistic.

If you want to discuss your current exercise habits or start up a new routine, give us a call to arrange an assessment and one of our highly trained physiotherapists can show you how you might stay healthy into older age. Contact us today 0207 884 0374 or email us at

Post by Leanne Plenge, Physiotherapist and Bristol Manager.

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