If you’re an older adult or struggle with your mobility, you might be finding it particularly difficult to keep active during the Coronavirus pandemic, particularly if you are shielding.
However, it’s important to try and maintain our physical fitness whilst at home. Not only is exercise great for our health, but its also beneficial for our mood and keeping our spirits up.
For people aged 65 and over, its recommended that we should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none. Try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity if you are already active, or a combination of both and try to do activities that improve strength and flexibility on at least 2 days a week. Plus, it’s important to remember to reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.
Maybe you might not have done much exercise before the pandemic, or you have health problems that make it more difficult to exercise. But don’t let that put you off. If you start off gently and build up what you do, you’ll find that keeping active helps you keep healthy and independent into old age.
Here’s some advice and exercises from Kirby at One You Lincolnshire to get you started if you aren’t as active as you use to be.
Getting active doesn’t have to be about structured exercise, any type of activity is good for you. Everyday activities like gardening are great ways to get moving. If you have a garden get outside and enjoy the sunshine; any weeding, watering and planting is physical activity. But remember take regular drink breaks.
If you can leave the house, go on walks – walking is one of the best ways to be active, and many of us in Lincolnshire are lucky enough to live in the countryside and see some beautiful views. Just make sure the walk has plenty of stops/benches and doesn’t have any unsteady ground and you’ll be well on your way and if you are meeting someone from another household remember to keep to the 2 meter distance.
You can improve your strength and balance in your very own home, here are some key exercises you can do to help (the following exercises can be done while completing any housework):
For any of these exercises make sure you have a support there with you, whether that be a kitchen work top or a chair, to use if you need too. See how many you can do?
If you have limited mobility then seated exercises can be a good way to get moving. Get your dancing shoes on, and your favourite jive music and get dancing in that chair.
Start with Toe taps/side taps- tapping your toes in front and to the side in time with the music.
Complete the Hand jive dance:-
1. Clap your hands on your thighs 2x
2. Clap your hands together 2x
3. Criss cross hands over the top of one another 4x
4. Make you hands into fists and tap them on top of one another 2x on each hand
5. Give a thumbs up, point the right thumb to the right 2x and left thumb to the left 2x.
If you’re shielding or self-distancing on your own and are missing regular social meet ups, online facebook exercise groups aimed at older people can be a great way to get exercise and feel part of a group. You could try Make Movement your Mission. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MakeMovementYourMission/
If you need help with using a tablet or social media ask a relative to help or take a look at these guides from Lincs Digital.
For those with a health condition or if you are recovering from an illness, you might need to take it steadier to get active. Visit the We are Undefeatable website for advice and inspiration on getting active with a health condition.
For anyone starting a new exercise routine, remember to stop the exercises immediately if you feel faint or unwell, and if you still feel dizzy or unwell have a rest. Next time try something less strenuous, building up your activity gradually.
Make sure your workout area is safe and free of obstacles before exercising. Speak to your GP (on the phone) if you have any concerns about exercising.
If you are self-isolating on your own, make sure you have a phone in reach when doing exercises.
For links to more resources to keep older people active (including links to some printable booklets) visit https://activelincolnshire.com/advice-getting-active-covid-19-older-adults/
One You Lincolnshire clients can also access our online virtual gym - The Other Room. For support to keep active check out your eligibility here
Blog written in partnership with Active Lincolnshire
Kirby Mansfield, Physical Activity Practitioner (OYL) & Active Lincolnshire
May 27, 2020