Elderly Northlanders out to make the most of their twilight years should do more vacuuming and gardening, the Health Ministry says.
Initiatives to keep pensioners healthy for longer are in a 62-page report just published by the Health Ministry.
Recommendations included dancing, housework, playing with grandchildren and kapa haka.
Grey Power Northland zone director Jack Kerr said gardening and walking were popular activities among elderly people in the region.
"My wife goes to an exercise class at the Horahora hall every Thursday."
Mr Kerr estimated about 90 per cent of Northland's Grey Power members were already practising many of the recommendations in the report.
"I myself do a lot of walking."
Many retired Northlanders also performed their own housework and maintenance tasks which kept them active, he said.
According to Statistics NZ estimates, about 611,400 Kiwis were aged over-65 last year, with around 27,400 in Northland.
Health Ministry chief medical officer Don Mackie stressed the importance of keeping healthy through the years to get more out of life, while also keeping burgeoning costs on the public health system in check.
"People are living longer and we want to see that those years are spent in good health," he said.
"Healthy, active, older people are able to make positive contributions to whanau, communities and wider society for longer."
Research showed regular exercise reduced the risk of strokes and heart disease, according to the Health Ministry report. It could also help manage conditions such as arthritis, depression and type 2 diabetes.
Dr Mackie said any activities which increased breathing and heart rates helped. Everyday things like gardening and carrying shopping bags all counted.
Ideally, people would be adding in activities that promoted flexibility and balance, such as stretching and golf, he said.
Recommended exercise for people 65-plus:
- Modified tai chi
- Water aerobics
- Washing the car
- Stair climbing
- Source: Ministry of Health