New report claims older people want to do more exercise BYTom Walker
Less than half of Britons over the age of 55 are doing the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week - despite a third of older people admitting they would like to do more.
The figures come from an Age UK study, which also shows that one in eight of over 55s do not exercise at all.
Of those who do exercise, walking (82 per cent) was the most popular form of exercise. Just 8 per cent visit a gym regularly.
Despite the seemingly low interest in gyms, many older people surveyed revealed they would be keen to incorporate organised exercise into their lives.
More than a quarter (27 per cent) said they wanted to try swimming, while 15 per cent would be interested in going to the gym. More than one in five (22 per cent) said they would prefer to exercise in a group where they may or may not know people.
As part of efforts to remove the barriers for older people looking to attend a gym, more than 270 UK health clubs and leisure centres are taking part Age UK's Gym Open Day today (10 July) For more info on the Gym Open Day, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/gymopenday.
Emma Spragg, head of wellbeing services at Age UK, said: "We hope our Gym Open Day will encourage people to get involved and try something new for free today.
"It is a great opportunity to discover or rediscover how exercise can suit their 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."