Seniors: Keeping Fit As You Age - Even During COVID-19

Seniors: Keeping Fit As You Age - Even During COVID-19

© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions

While we're a nation of sports lovers, on the whole, we do not exercise enough and our level of sedentariness increases with age.

Australian Federal Department of Health research dating back to 2018 reveals that of the cohort of Australians over 65 years, 69% of men and 75% of women were insufficiently active[1].

To be considered 'active', you need to be undertaking physical activity for at least 30 minutes most days, preferably every day. That's the Australian health guideline!

With the COVID restrictions of the past six months, those percentages will be worse. So starting this week, it's time to get more active!

 

The benefits of regular exercise

There are multiple reasons for regular physical activity. It is good for:

  • Your physical and mental health.
  • Reducing the risk of chronic health issues, notably heart disease and diabetes.
  • Strengthening your immune system.
  • Stabilising and increasing bone density.
  • Keeping your weight in check.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Improving sleep.

 

What you need to focus on

The experts say that to remain fit, we need a combination of endurance, strength, flexibility and balancing exercises. Each delivers different benefits.

  • Endurance activities involve some effort. The goal is to increase your breathing and heart rate to get your heart, lungs and circulatory system going.

    Go for a brisk walk, dance, rake the garden, swim, climb the stairs - and do it for 20 minutes a day.

  • Strength activities to strengthen your muscles and bones. This involves weights and resistance training.

    You can use your our body weight for resistance - climb the stairs, and stand up and sit down. Do this for 10 minutes, two or three times a week.

  • Flexibility exercises help you move more easily.

    Try some stretching exercises, yoga, pilates or tai chi once a week for 30 minutes.

  • Balancing exercises keep you steady on your feet, preventing trips and falls.

    Launch into some side leg raises, half squats, and heel raises, with multiple repetitions for five to 10 minutes a day.

 

No excuses

While our State and Territory governments closed gyms, health clubs and fitness classes during the past six months, they have all now reopened, apart from Victoria where restrictions are still in place.

If you live outside of Victoria, you can attend gyms, health clubs or fitness classes - though you will need to respect their COVID-19 safe practices. A listing of the current status on physical activities in each State/Territory is provided in the table in the Resources section of this blog[2].

The excuses dwindle further when you see the plethora of activities provided online. You can create your own gym at home! Here are some good samples:

 

Preparation

Before you launch into a new regime, remember to:

  • Check with your GP to ensure you are able to manage a new regime.
  • Exercise on flat surfaces and wear appropriate footwear to reduce the risk of falls.
  • Warm up.
  • Listen to your body and don't over do it. Gradually build up your repetitions of each exercise.
  • Stay hydrated.

 

Motivated and monitored

If you're wishing to keep a loved one active and looking for an in-home carer to keep them motivated, and safe at the same time, please feel free to contact me, Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions, for an initial discussion on how we can make this happen.

At DR Care Solutions we specialise in making sure you have the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.

- Contact Danielle - For An Impartial & Confidential Conversation

 

Resources

[1] Australian Federal Department of Health Research

[2] To understand what practices are in place for your local gym and community fitness class, refer to the links in the table below.

State/Territory

Current Gym/Health Club/Fitness Class requirements

Open with COVID-Safe Practices*

Queensland

https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/government-actions/roadmap-to-easing-queenslands-restrictions/sport/restrictions

Yes

New South Wales

https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe/gyms

Yes

ACT

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/what-you-can-do/faqs-changes-to-restrictions/gyms-bootcamps-personal-training

Yes

Victoria

Metro Melbourne: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/sport-and-exercise-metropolitan-melbourne-third-step

Regional Victoria: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/sport-and-exercise-third-step

No

Tasmania

https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/families-community/sport-and-recreation

Yes

South Australia

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/activities-and-gatherings

Yes

Western Australia

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Yes

Northern Territory

https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/business-and-work/business/guidelines-for-businesses-and-community-organisations-stage-3

Yes

* As at date of publish. COVID Safe practices vary slightly amongst the States/Territories but generally involve: registering attendance; keeping 1.5 m apart; wearing a mask to reduce the risks; washing hands regularly; and staying at home if you are feeling unwell.

 

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