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How to stay active at home

Exercise may be the last thing on your ‘things to worry about’ list at the moment.

Staying well, getting food and medication, worrying about family and friends, money, coping with staying at home – they are all real concerns for so many of us right now. You’d be forgiven for thinking that exercise can go to the bottom of the priority list, yet this is one aspect of our lives that we still have some control over and offers a welcome distraction from worrisome thoughts.

Move it or Lose it has been helping older people to stay active – both at home and in our community exercise groups – for 10 years now. We have a wealth of experience in motivating people to get moving, doing the right kind of exercise to aid mobility, strength, balance and confidence as we age.

Now, more than ever, we need to adapt and find ways to get moving at home, both for our physical and mental health and here’s why:

Routine – having structure to each day can help us to feel more in control of everything, to form healthy habits and to reduce our stress levels. Making a specific time to get moving will ensure that it becomes part of your daily routine.

Time – when you’re stuck at home, time seems to slow down and days can stretch endlessly ahead. When you focus specifically on something – whether that’s reading a great book or doing an exercise routine – time flies by. We’ve also got more time than ever at home now so why not use it to be active and improve our health.

Purpose – we all need a sense of purpose in our life. Doing something purposeful with a positive outcome will give you a sense of achievement. Knowing that you are benefiting your immune system, heart, muscles, bones and brains gives you an intrinsic reward.

Mood lifting – you don’t have to do extreme sport to get the happy hormones going. Exercise can energise you and make you feel good, it also promotes feelings of calm.

Distraction – taking some time out to exercise helps to break the cycle of negative thoughts and takes our mind off our worries and anxieties for a little while.

Staying strong – we know that for older people, just 10 days of bed rest in hospital equates to 10 years loss of muscle mass. To combat this, we need to do strengthening exercises at least twice a week. This means lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling so our muscles work against some resistance.

Immune boosting – as Professor Janet Lord (Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham) explained on Woman’s Hour recently, exercise can prevent the immune system from declining and protect people against infections.

We have lots of resources to help get you moving at home. If you’re not online, then we have our award-winning DVDs, books and bands. If you are online we have free resources on our YouTube channel and our Facebook page, DVD rentals and our new subscription with lots of exercises to choose from. Sign up to receive our Support Pack  and we’ll keep you updated with ideas and inspiration so you can stay active, healthy and happy in the months ahead.

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