While the ‘stay at home and work at home if you can’ restrictions imposed by Government apply – we have to think of new ways of doing some daily activity.  The need for daily activity has been emphasised by the prime minister and the Chief Medical Officers and it is clear that when we are confined to our homes and daily travel routines are removed we will probably have a lot less everyday activity and more sedentary time.  This little blog is aimed at helping you find some activity to do that keeps the body health and the mind alert.

There are at least two groups that each of us  might fall into.

The first group are those who are missing daily active commuting, exercise classes and gym or swimming sessions- for a short time [we hope] all of these activities need to be replaced by something that is possible from home. The VERY good news is that the restrictions allow leaving the house once a day to walk, jog or cycle – providing you keep two metres away from others, minimise the surfaces you need to touch and wash hands when you get back in the house. So here you are free to do these activities at your own pace – a pace that helps you feel good- and for as long as you feel it is comfortable- there is even a chance that in the coming weeks you could build up and do more that you achieved in the first week – bonus! 

The second group are those who were not doing regular activities but in this situation might find the motivation and time to get started and help your body and mind get the benefits of some daily movement.  Like the first group you can take the opportunity to leave the house once a day – probably to walk- that is the safest and easiest way to get active. Those with disabilities can use support from frames and those in wheelchairs can also try turning their wheels out there. Start small and build up – 10 minutes of walking for the first few days is fine. When that amount of time feels OK- then add another 5 minutes and walk for 15 minutes for a few days. Eventually you might be able over the course of weeks to build up to 20-30 minutes – and some days could be longer walks and other days could be shorter walks.

Both groups – the already active and the would like to get active – also need to think of ways to build strength and to do balance activities at home.  Attached there are 9 exercises that can be done at home – aim for 10 repetitions and if that is too easy aim for 2 or 3 sets of the 10 repetitions. Those that are finding ways to replace gym based or class based activities will be able to find lots of things to follow on line to help with strength and balance also.

A useful tip is to set a goal about when to do exercise each day. This should be a time that makes it most likely you can do it – for some first thing, for others at lunchtime – this will be your new normal for a week or two. The outside exercise can be at one time of the day and strength exercise at another time.  If there are others with you in the household try to do this all together – kids too! 

But we all know how hard it is to be motivated on wet and windy days or days when the news is gloomy – when it seems hard to get across the door step then just do a minimum – something is better than nothing – when the sun is out and you feel more able- do more. The same with strength exercises – every other day is an excellent goal – again something is better than nothing and some days it will feel easier than others. 

Stay active Stay strong Stay safe

Professor Nanette Mutrie, University of Edinburgh March 2020