This month, we want to encourage everyone to get more active to boost their physical and mental health.
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the UK having to stay at home, with guidelines only allowing people to leave their home for essential reasons, such as getting groceries or medications, exercising outside once a day as long as you stay 2 metres away from others, for medical purposes and to travel to work is it is necessary.
Regular exercise routines may have come to a halt, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find the right workout from the comfort of our own home. Below are advice and ideas on keeping yourself physically healthy depending on your age and ability:
- It’s important to keep active throughout the day rather than just sitting. Walking around the house at our own pace or making a cup of tea is considered light activity.
- Have at least 2 days per week for strength, balance and flexibility workouts.
- Strength exercises keep muscles and joints active and can be done gently to start with. Exercises can be completed either sitting down on a sturdy chair or standing up and can include mini-squats, leg extensions and bicep curls. Instructions of more strength exercises can be found here.
- Balance exercises can help with mobility, with exercises including walking sideways and the classic ‘Step-up, Step-down’ which can be completed using the bottom step of a staircase.
- Flexibility exercises include slowly moving your head side to side and bending sideways to loosen up tense muscles.
- 150 minutes of moderate activity is also recommended by health professionals, which can be broken down to 20 minutes per day. This is an exercise that raises the heart rate and helps pump blood around the body and can include dancing or aerobics workouts, as well as water aerobics and a brisk walk when the COVID-19 isolation period has come to an end.
Adults (aged 19 – 64 years)
- A mixture of moderate and vigorous activity throughout the week is recommended by health professionals to keep physically healthy.
- This mixture of activity should include 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, depending on your physical ability.
- Moderate exercises include dancing, brisk walking, riding a bike, mowing the lawn or completing an aerobics workout.
- Vigorous physical activities include jogging or running, skipping with a rope and walking up and down the stairs, but following the isolation being lifted, it also includes sports activities such as football, netball and swimming.
- At least two days of the week should be focused on strength workouts and working on major muscles such as the legs, abdomen, chest and back. This could be lifting weights (or food tins) or a resistant band, Yoga, Pilates and heavy gardening tasks such as digging.
- If you use a wheelchair or are unable to stand up for a long period of time, the exercises can be adjusted to meet your abilities. Chair-based exercises can still keep you active and healthy.
- Make sure you are in a comfortable chair with a straight back. Your feet should sit flat and your thighs parallel to the floor. Wear comfortable clothes that you can easily move in.
- Exercises include:
- Upper-body Twist – sit up straight and cross your arms across your chest, resting your hands on your shoulders. Gently twist your upper body to the side as far as you can comfortably go and hold, before turning in the opposite direction.
- Ankle and calf stretch – if you can, straighten one leg out in front of you, either lifted into the air or with your heel placed on the floor. Pull your toes towards you, and then gently point them away like a ballerina. This strengthens the joints in your ankle and calf, preventing blood clots.
- Arm and side stretch – sitting up straight, rest both arms at your side. Gently lift your arms so they are parallel with the floor, hold for a few seconds, and then raise the arms up straight above your head. Slowly lean slightly towards the left, keeping your back straight, hold for a few seconds and return your arms to above your head. Repeat on the other side, and then gently bring your arms back down to your side.
- More chair-based exercises can be found on the NHS website and on the British Heart Foundation website.
If you have a health concern, ensure you speak to your GP about what activities are right for you.
At Heritage Healthcare, we support our clients with various support services to help them remain living in the comfort of their own home. Our services include personal care, companionship, household tasks and respite care. To find out your nearest Heritage Healthcare office, please click here.