We have all heard the expression “A healthy body means a healthy mind.” As we get older lack of mobility can cause serious problems for us in our daily lives especially during COVID lockdown. Many of us have experienced the frustration of not being able to do what we could before – like getting out of the bath or chair as easily. It is often thought that it is more difficult for less mobile people to improve their health and fitness whilst also maintaining the ability to carry out simple tasks. But this need not be the case. Low impact exercises put less strain on your body and are significantly easier to do than high impact exercises like running and yet research suggests that they can be just effective. So what are you waiting for?
Here are examples of some helpful exercises that we can all do during lockdown and into the future. They do not need any special equipment and can help to maintain suppleness and muscle tone.
Sit to stand: (builds up leg strength and important for maintaining independence)
- Sit on the edge of your chair, then before you stand up lean slightly forwards
- Then without using your arms stand up slowly.
- Make sure you only look forwards during this exercise until you’ve stood up straight then sat down slowly.
- Repeat this exercise 5 times – the slower the better.
Chest stretch: (this stretch is good for posture)
- Sit in your chair away from the back upright
- Extend your arms out to your side and gently push your chest forward until you feel it stretching.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat 5 times
Leg straightening: (improves leg strength and flexibility)
- Sit up straight against the back of your chair.
- As you exhale lift one leg up and stretch it as straight as you can.
- Hold for a couple of seconds then lower your leg to its original position
- Repeat 10-15 times on each leg
Sideways bend: (helps restore flexibility to the lower back)
- Stand up straight with your arms by your sides.
- Lower your right/left arm down your side until you feel it stretching your opposite hip
- Hold each stretch for 2 seconds and repeat at least 3 times on each side
One-leg stand: (improves balance and muscular strength)
- Stand facing the wall with your arms outstretched fully touching the walls.
- Lift either leg whilst maintaining your hips level and bending the other leg slightly.
- Then gently place your foot back on the floor.
- Hold your leg up for 10 seconds and perform the exercise 3 times on each side.
Step-up: (improves balance, muscular strength and important for independence)
If possible use stairs that have a banister so that you can ensure you don’t have an accident.
- Firstly step up with your either leg, and then step up with the other leg.
- Step down and return to starting position
- Repeat 5 times on each leg slowly and carefully.
Neck rotation: (improves neck mobility and flexibility)
- Sit upright with shoulders relaxed and look forward.
- Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder until you can feel it stretching.
- Hold for 5 seconds and then return to your starting position.
- Repeat 3 neck rotations on each side.
Besides aiding health and fitness, exercise also can improve self esteem, relieve stress, reduce depression and help you to sleep – and we can all benefit from these at this time. We have chosen low impact exercises that are easier for people who are less mobile.
For more information and to see more similar exercises click below
Update 4th June 2020
The British Geriatrics Society has just warned that lockdown and social distancing are resulting in worryingly low levels of physical exercise. This “deconditioning” will in all likelihood lead to diminished independence and more medical treatment in the long term.
It is vitally important to avoid the consequences of less exercise whilst confined to the home. Falls, blood pressure and mental health are all threatened by inactivity. So let’s get up off the sofa and enjoy the benefits of getting fit!