Health leaders are recommending over-65s take up dancing, bowls or activities such as tai chi to tackle obesity.
The new national guidelines, issued for the first time since 2011, focus on trying to prevent frailty as people get older.
As well as avoiding dangerous weight gain, it is hoped the guidelines will reduce the strain on the NHS.
Falls are the biggest reason older people end up in A&E, but experts said they could be avoided through daily activities such as swimming, gardening, a walk or climbing stairs.
The Chief Medical Officers for all four UK nations said over-65s should do activities such as bowls or dancing on two days each week.
The new guidance describes the importance of older people doing strength activities at least two days a week, such as yoga classes or carrying shopping.
Prof Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, said that by keeping active, both throughout the day and through hobbies, people can slow muscle and bone decline, ultimately keeping them independent for longer.
The guidelines also suggest older people wear step counters to remind them to get moving. Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, told the Mirror: “It’s never too late to start, even if that means taking gradual steps towards moving more on a daily basis. Small amounts of exercise can make a big difference to our mental and physical health and there is something out there for everyone.”