6 January 2021
9 simple ways to stay fit and healthy this winter
To help older people across the country stay active and healthy throughout the winter period, Anchor Hanover has developed a series of simple, accessible and effective fitness tips.
Recognising the significant positive impact that staying active has on older people’s physical health and mental wellbeing, and how the colder weather and restrictions due to Covid-19 can make it challenging to prioritise fitness and to find motivation, our tips are easy to follow and accessible for people of all abilities.
Fitness doesn’t need to be time consuming; it can range from walking to dancing to hoovering or dusting - anything that gets your whole body moving counts! Either in-person and distancing or via Zoom, doing activities together with loved ones is also a great way to stay motivated.
So with many people now traditionally making New Year’s resolutions, our tips aim to help everyone in starting 2021 on a positive note, through practical advice on how to boost fitness in a fun, safe and engaging way…
Our top fitness tips
- Break your 30 minutes down into smaller chunks – 3 x 10 minutes is perfect if you are new to activity. Then you can do 2 x 15 minutes and finally the full 30 minutes if you feel up to it.
- Physical activity means anything at all! You can go for a walk, dance around the living room, do some hoovering or dusting, anything that make you feel a bit warmer and gets your whole body moving. You don’t have to hit the gym! Find what you enjoy, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
- Try and make movement functional – sitting down and standing up, pushing and pulling and reaching overhead, stepping up and down. This will help you with everyday tasks.
- Enlist some support – if you don’t want to walk alone, get a friend to walk with you outside (maintaining a social distance) or dance around your house with people you live with. If you aren’t able to meet face to face then zoom, skype or video call. This will help you stick to a routine as someone will be waiting for you to turn up!
- Wear layers – you’ll start to feel a bit warmer as you get moving so you can remove a thin layer at a time as you feel ready.
- Listen to your body – if anything hurts or doesn’t feel right then stop and rest. Make sure you build up gradually and don’t overdo it if you aren’t used to physical activity.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day – these are guidelines so enjoy your rest day and aim to do some movement the following day.
- Drink plenty of fluids to accommodate for the extra movement and the fluid lost during it.
- Make sure you have had something to eat at least 45 minutes before you start to exercise – exercising on a full stomach can cause some issues!
Official guidance recommends people aged 65 and over should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week*, or approximately for 30 minutes, five days a week. Yet during the colder months, and as the country faces tightening restrictions over the coming weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be increasingly challenging to prioritise health and fitness and to find motivation.
Discussing the importance of physical activity in winter, Helen Core, Wellbeing Manager for Anchor Hanover, said:
Winter in the UK can feel very long, dark and cold – that’s why it’s so important that we all look after ourselves and stay active to keep healthy and in high spirits. We have developed this accessible, engaging guide of essential tips to staying fit and active to show older people that boosting your fitness doesn’t have to be difficult – any activity that gets you up and moving and your heart beating a little faster, can be extremely beneficial for health and wellbeing. As we enter the new year, it’s important we stay healthy and positive – so that we’re ready for the brighter months to come.
Further information and advice on supporting health and wellbeing can be found on Anchor Hanover’s BeActive page – a curated list of online resources, including exercise routine videos, podcasts and tips on how to keep the mind active. Please visit: https://www.anchorhanover.org.uk/existing-residents/beactive.