Friday May 15th 2020

With most people still confined to their homes, it’s important that everyone gets as much exercise as they can, particularly our older residents, those with less mobility and those who are more vulnerable to illness.

While outdoor exercise with social distancing is permitted, there’s still plenty you can do to stay active indoors, lift the mood and improve your sense of wellbeing. Active Surrey advises a gradual, step-by-step approach to get things moving – particularly for those who are used to sitting still for long periods.

“This can be where problems start, because sitting for long periods can harm our health,” Charlotte Long, Health Lead from Woking-based Active Surrey, says.

“You don’t need to run around - just get up regularly to stretch and move. It will keep you supple and help your metabolism, meaning your blood sugar and pressure are better controlled.”

In its latest advice to residents of all ages, Active Surrey says older people should try the following, but take it easy, start slowly and mind your balance.

If you’re watching TV, try to get up every time the ad breaks come on. It works your muscles, helps with balance and it’s a great habit to get into.

If you’re lucky enough to have two bathrooms and are steady on your feet, try regularly alternating between the two. It’s a small change, but it can help.

Get online if you can. There is plenty of free, easily accessible physical activity advice for the over 65s.

While former Surrey schoolboy Joe Wicks’ usual bouncy home workout classes might not be for you, he does have some great home workouts for seniors too! The NHS also has great advice and online resources, and you can access plenty of tips and advice by finding everything you need for your age group at Active Surrey’s website.

Try tuning in to the Green Goddess. A Surrey resident herself, you can join Diana Moran – who is now in her 80s – on BBC Breakfast TV at 6.55am on Mondays and Wednesdays, and at 6.55am and 8.55am on weekends. Despite her own health scares, Diana still makes time for exercise.

“It’s really important to stay active as you get older,” Diana says. “Not only is there a physical benefit, but also if you’re physically active, it keeps your brain active. Physical activity for older people can help maintain a quality of life.”

You could also give Terry Keen from Leatherhead, another older instructor helping people move more, a try. The public face of a national campaign called 10Today, Terry’s short sessions can be found online and have been broadcast until 10am every morning on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra on DAB and Freeview.

“Most of us begin to lose muscle mass in our 40s, which is why strength exercises are important,” Active Surrey’s Charlotte Long says. “Digging in the garden or lifting a few tins in a shopping bag can give you a home workout, but the other vital part of exercising when you’re older is maintaining your balance.”

So choose to stay active now and you’ll reap the rewards later, whatever your age.

Lock-in doesn’t mean losing out.

Active Surrey is a not for profit, partner funded organisation dedicated to the support, promotion and development of sport and active lifestyles throughout Surrey. Find out more information at www.activesurrey.com.

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