How to stay active this winter

Tuesday, 25th January 2022

Our Feelgood Toning Suite, with its power assisted exercise machines, is an excellent way for literally anyone to improve mobility, balance, flexibility and strength. If you’re older or less mobile, your physical and mental health and wellbeing is even more important as winter approaches. Staying or becoming more physically active in the darker, colder months is one of the most important things we can do to reduce vulnerability to illnesses such as Covid and winter flu – and also to increase the effectiveness of Covid vaccines and any subsequent booster jabs.

Whatever your level of physical activity is currently, we should all try to do a little more or to start do something, if you are currently not physically active. For an older adult this could mean, for example:

Whatever your exercise level, there has never been a more important time to invest in your health and do a little more. And of course, to keep doing it.

For exercises you can do at home, see Shapemaster’s exercise at home videos.

So, why is this important?

“There is no point in life where doing more exercise does not improve health in multiple ways.” Professor Chris Whitty

The science

Exercise immediately activates billions of immune cells that recognise and kill virus-infected cells. They race around our blood stream “looking for a fight”. Even a slight increase in heart rate increases the speed of their journey between the blood and tissues, which means the body increases its “immune surveillance” and better equips us to resist infection and deal with viruses that are already active.

In partnership with the immune system, proteins released from muscle direct immune cells to the right places and promote the growth of T-cells.

Exercise is especially beneficial for older adults who are generally more susceptible to infection and have been a particularly vulnerable group during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Richard J. Simpson PhD, FACSM, American College of Sports Medicine, March 2020

As winter draws in, you may prefer to maintain a level of physical activity indoors, so we’ve pulled together some excellent resources which will help you if this is the case:

PE with Joe Wicks

NHS home workout videos

Move it or Lose it workout videos for older people

Yoga with Adriene

10 best online home workouts (The Guardian)

Maintaining a level of exercise indoors will enable you to enjoy more outdoor exercise, adding variety and interest to your wellbeing plan. We’d also encourage you to be sociable in your exercise with friends and family as not only does it increase the fun element, it will help you to commit to it more regularly.

Active travel

Active travel means making journeys by physically active means, like walking or cycling. There are many advantages to this, particularly health, environmental and financial (a triple benefit) so it is well worth considering active travel, as a way to get around, with the added benefit of improving your health at the same time.

As with any exercise, you should find an exertion level suitable for you and make sure that your physical environment is safe. Push yourself but don’t overdo it.

Most importantly, enjoy the multiple benefits of being more active!

Source: gov.uk

Whatever way you choose to stay active this winter, it’s important you do. The pandemic has had an “unprecedented” impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 million more adults becoming physically inactive in the 12 months to May 2021 (Sport England, Active Lives Survey 2021). It’s never too late to get active or resume old habits that may have dropped off.

By David HeathcoteNovember 4th 2021 www.shapemaster.co.uk