5 great exercises to do in your old age

Let's be honest. Most of the way through our working lives we look forward to retirement as a time to sit back, relax on a beach with a cocktail in hand, and generally not do too much of anything that takes too much effort.

You essentially will have an excuse to never even be in the same room as a treadmill again.

However, not only will sitting around doing nothing much all day get old faster than you'll think you did, keeping fit and active will help you enjoy all that time spent lounging around so much more.

Here are five of our recommendations for exercises to try to get yourself into the habit early, and put yourself in the best position health-wise as you approach the golden years.

1.  Ballroom dancing

Yes, it's as fun as it looks, and no, it's no coincidence the dancers are in such great shape.

All those talent shows are bringing this fitness trend to life across a number of age categories, and there's no reason why the silver-haired foxes and damsels can't join in too. Dance styles such as the foxtrot, salsa or tango are all fantastic for cardio health, encourage good posture and get you up on your feet.

Plus, with the music and fun of this activity, you'll hardly even notice you're exercising.

2. Yoga

If you think yoga looks like a slow version of the positions you stretch yourself into while trying to dig coins out of the side of your couch, think again.

Yoga is deceptively good for you. The progression from position to position targets a range of muscle groups, helping to increase flexibility and balance – two great benefits of a healthy body that are especially useful for older participants.

And before any guys start thinking they'll give this one a miss, check out this story. If the tattoo'd, six-packed, men's men from this rugby team can take part, so can you.

Yoga pants optional.

3. Brain training

Who said all the good exercises had to be physical?

Brain training is just as important at this stage of life as ever. At least this time though, it doesn't have to be in the form of wrapping your head around salary sacrificing or trying to remember all your kids' friend's names and which colour dyes they're allergic to.

Take your pick of a daily sudoku puzzle, join a bridge group, take a beginners' language class or learn a new word every day. Pushing your mental limits will help keep the mind sharper for the long run – and might just teach you some new skills.

4. Cycling

It's just like riding a bike. Only more fun.

This activity is very low impact, which means your knees and joints aren't going to hold it against you after a workout. Be sure to get properly fitted to a bike in a store so it's set up for your frame, and start on quiet, flat roads for short trips before building up to anything more challenging. Buddy up to make this activity even more fun.

5. Canoeing

Canoeing might not be your usual exercise, but pushing yourself around in a floating vessel might be just what you need to keep fit and healthy.

With so many Australians living close enough to the water to enjoy a good paddle, you can start by hiring one and testing the waters, so to speak. You'll give your arms and upper body a real boost, all while sitting down and enjoying the view. Plus, if you get tired, you can lie back and enjoy the scenery.

If you get a little more serious with this pursuit, canoes are a great investment in your health and will be a seriously cool way to show off to your grandkids when they come along. Plus, what's that superannuation fund for if not enjoying your golden years? Be sure to prepare now so there's plenty in the pot to enjoy later.

Got any other ideas for exercising that bod? Share them with us!