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Over-50s’ chance to strut their stuff

24 October 2007

The over-50s will have an opportunity to show what they're capable of during a fortnight of healthy living activities supported by the University and aimed to encourage older people to stay mentally and physically fit and healthy.

The fortnight, organised by Bristol City Council in conjunction with partners Bristol Primary Care Trust (NHS), Sport and Leisure Management, the University of Bristol and BBC Radio Bristol, kicks off with the Celebrating Age Festival at the Council House on Saturday, 27 October from 10 am to 4 pm.

This free one-day event brings together a range of activities, which celebrate the massive contribution older people make to the city, particularly those in work, those who care for family members and the thousands of volunteers who support hundreds of charities and good causes in the city. Activities will include music and theatre performances and adult education taster sessions, and there will be stalls providing advice and information for older people.

The festival is followed by a two-week programme of over-50 sport and fitness sessions at local leisure centres, sports centre and pools across the city. The programme runs from Monday, 29 October to Sunday, 11 November. Many sessions are either free or cost only 50p to have a go.

Line dancing, aqua fit, step aerobics, swimming and badminton are just a few of the fitness sessions available. Leaflets detailing the full programme are available from GP surgeries, dentists, opticians, sports and leisure centres, libraries and on the web at

Councillor Peter Hammond, deputy leader and executive member for care and communities, said: ‘Being fit and healthy is important at any age. By focusing on the over-50s we want to encourage older people to enjoy life to the full and think about how they can stay mentally and physically healthier for longer.

‘But it’s not all about going to the gym and building up muscles. It’s about looking after your brain as well as your body. The aim is to give people ideas and inspiration to help boost personal well-being, promote longevity and just let older people have more opportunities to have fun – more often.’

Dr Hugh Annett, Director of Public Health in Bristol, added: ‘We want people, particularly those over 50, just to increase their exercise a little so that they are active five times a week for 30 minutes. People don’t have to opt for a gym regime unless they want to. There are plenty of gentle activities highlighted at the festival. The important thing is to feel as though you have got a bit warmer and to get a little out of breath. Some other ideas for regularly activity include walking, gardening, housework, avoiding the lift and walking up the stairs or getting off your bus a few stops early.’

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