The World Health Organisation tells us that during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are staying at home and sitting down more than we usually do. I know that this is certainly true in my case. I really feel for and appreciate people who are still out at work, busier than ever with all the extra precautions that are needed.
WHO also advise that it’s very important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. For some of us, staying active isn’t an easy option at the best of times. My exercise came from walking to the bus stop when I needed to go somewhere. Overall I would have walked for 30 minutes by the time I had been anywhere and got back, when I would collapse into a chair waiting for the pain to ease off. The incentive to put myself through this was whatever I was going out to do, be that shopping or going to visit family.
Without this incentive – the carrot – my exercise became less and less, especially when anxiety kicked in. That little voice that said ‘just how safe is public transport’ when you are classed as clinically vulnerable.
Comfortingly, WHO adds that doing 3-4 minutes of light intensity physical movement, such as walking or stretching, will help ease your muscles and improve blood circulation and muscle activity.
Our NHS has produced a range of exercise videos – on line, free to access – to encourage people to maintain their fitness at home during Covid restrictions. I was a bit dubious, I have to admit, but I took a look in anyway. I was surprised and very pleased to see that they have catered for people with a range of conditions who would possibly struggle otherwise.
There are pilates videos for people with chronic back pain, arthritis, knee problems, scoliosis, sciatica, and MS and fibromyalgia. If you are unable to get on the floor, they have even included a chair-based pilates exercise video.
In an attempt to improve my health, I have started to use my daughter’s exercise bike which has been sitting derelict in my living room since she moved out. My GP recommended cycling as it takes the weight from my rickety knees. However, it is boring – you’ve probably gathered by now that I am not all that impressed with physical activities! Then I discovered you can find virtual cycle rides, so with my tablet in front of me, I am spending ten minutes speeding through country lanes, listening to music. Almost relaxing.
According to WHO, exercise isn’t just good for our physical health, it is also good for our mental health, reducing the risk of depression and improving overall feelings. It certainly gives some structure to my day, starting with my morning Tai Chi, and early evening bike ride. It also gives me that good feeling when I can put a tick against something that I have actually done today – although I am happy to remind myself on those days when I haven’t given myself a tick, that it’s ok. Improving fitness can only go at the speed your health will allow.
Written by Portland Jones, PF Disabilities Liaison for the West Midlands
This blog is based on my own experiences, understanding and outlook. If you have any health problems, the NHS advise that you to speak to your GP before undertaking any form of exercise. As they say, better safe than sorry.
The links that I have given I have found via Google. I can make no assurances for the content.