Why is physical activity important?

The benefits of physical activity include:

  • Feeling better
  • More energy
  • Sleeping better
  • Help reduce stress and anxiety
  • More confidence
  • Better concentration
  • Socialising
  • Enjoyment

It helps to manage and control:

  • Heart disease, including angina
  • Weight
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Joint problems, such as arthritis

And helps prevent illness by reducing the risk of:

  • Heart disease and strokes
  • Dementia
  • Falls and injuries
  • Some cancers

As you get older, regular physical activity also helps you stay in touch with friends and family.

'Fitting in Fitness'

Home Based Exercise Programme

An exercise programme does not have to be strenuous to be effective.  It is recommended that we do 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 5 times a week.  These 30 minutes can be broken down into shorter periods.

The following exercises are designed to gradually increase joint mobility, flexibility and increase the work of the heart and lungs.

Pick one or two of the exercises and do them throughout the day.  Alternatively, whenever the adverts come on while watching the TV, pick one or two exercises and continue doing them until the programme starts again.

Mobility Exercises

Stretches

Aerobic Exercises

Toning and Strengthening

Ending the session

SAFETY TIPS

  1. Light to moderate physical activity is safe for most people.  Before you start an exercise programme, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor or health care professional to ensure it is safe to do so.

  2. When beginning any exercise programme you need to start slowly and build up gradually.

  3. A gentle 'pulling' sensation is normal when performing the stretches, they should never hurt - stop immediately if you feel pain.  Hold stretches between 8-15 seconds, gradually building to 15-30 seconds.

  4. Remember, breathe normally during exercise try not to hold your breath.

  5. While exercising, if you experience chest pain, dizziness or severe shortness of breath, stop immediately and contact your GP.

  6. If you experience pain in your joints or muscles, stop, check your position and try again.  If the pain persists seek medical advice.

For people who are not used to exercising, are out of shape or unsteady on their feet the majority of the exercises can be done seated.  If doing a seated version of an exercise, choose a chair that has a firm seat and back, and is high enough so your feet comfortably touch the floor.  Sit slightly forward in the chair, back straight, shoulders and arms relaxed, tummy pulled in.

Fit as a fiddle is a nationwide programme that championed physical activity, healthy eating and mental wellbeing for older people.  For more information click here.

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