The COVID-19 Pandemic – How to stay physically active: advice for adults and older adults
Why is it important to keep active at this time?
Ensuring that we maintain our activity levels can help our physical health and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that are common at this time of heightened uncertainty.
Socially distancing, self-isolation and changes to our daily routines pose challenges to us all. However, there are several things that everyone can do to ensure we protect our physical and mental health and remain physically active.
What can I do to stay active?
We already know that adults and older adults should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of activity per week. For example, a 30-minute walk on five days of the week or 22 minutes of activity every day. Here we have listed some ideas on how to incorporate physical activity in the context of our present restrictions. Try to find something that works best for you:
• Sit less, move more and more often.
• Break up long periods of sitting – try standing when watching TV, when making a call or when reading a book or newspaper; walk on the spot for the duration of the ad breaks.
• Put some music on and walk briskly around the home for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day, or walk up and down the stairs more often.
• Get active whilst doing housework – vacuuming, brushing/mopping the floors, cleaning windows.
• Dance to your favourite music.
• Workout with an exercise video or online group.
• Try seated exercises such as air punches or marching legs.
• Use home equipment or household items as part of your exercise routine.
Outdoor Activities (remember social distancing!) Be sure to wash your hands before and after
• Go for a walk or light jog.
• Go for a cycle.
• Do gardening and household DIY.
Maintaining your strength & flexibility
• Workout along with an exercise video or online group, with or without equipment.
• Perform yoga, Pilates, gentle stretching or Tai Chi.
• Do exercises using your own body weight. You can do sit ups and push ups.
You can use household objects as resistance equipment
• Canned food can be used in place of dumbbell.
• Shopping bags filled with a few extra cans can increase weight progressively.
• Remember – start light and increase weights gradually in line with your current ability.
Don’t sit all day Minimise the amount of time that you are sitting or lying, and break up with light activity such as housework or gardening.
Remember: If you haven’t been physically active for a while – start slowly and at a light intensity and increase your activity levels in line with your current ability. If in doubt talk with a health professional.
If you are unwell or have COVID-19, please use your energy to get better and do not try to be active. If you develop fever, cough or shortness of breath, stop physical activity and contact your GP or health professional.
Below are several online resources to help you keep active at home during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Siel bleu http://www.sielbleu.ie/ – Daily exercise challenges and at home exercise classes targeted at older adults: Live on Facebook daily at 11am: https://twitter.com/SielBleuIreland
Age and Opportunity: https://ageandopportunity.ie/ – Regular exercise challenges and at home exercise classes targeted at older adults
Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) https://www.thebodycoach.com/ – Daily exercise challenges and at home exercise classes.