We already know that walking is a fantastic exercise, with so many health benefits, and most people can usually manage some form of it on a daily basis.
Captain Tom Moore and Margaret Payne are shining examples proving that age is not a barrier to exercising.
For those who are relatively unused to exercise, walking is a great way to begin and very easy to build on. Check our Blog for tips on how to walk.
Try to aim for around 30 minutes of walking a day, but even breaking it up into smaller chunks will have a training effect. Swinging your arms, close to your body, will help your posture and rhythm. You may feel slightly breathless – able to talk, but not sing.
Some people, like Captain Moore, may use a walking aid. If the NHS has provided this, your aid will have already been adjusted correctly for you as an individual. However, you may have sourced your own walking stick or rollator, so you need to make sure that it is set to the correct height to avoid leaning sideways or forward.
Always measure up wearing the shoes that you use most often. Usually the height of a cane would come up to the crease on your wrist, although you can adjust within a couple of inches for personal comfort. It is the same criteria for the hand grip of a forearm crutch, with the cuff cradling the forearm just below the elbow. Try to avoid leaning over a walker, they should not be supporting your full weight, just enough to make you feel safe and secure.
Exercise within your home
If you cannot leave your home, there are still plenty of options. If you have a garden, you could try circuits. Otherwise, you can open your windows to let some fresh air in.
Marching on the spot, moving a couple of steps forwards, sideways and backwards (but make sure that there are no obstacles around you), or adding knee raises, side lunges and hamstring curls. Depending on the available space, and your level of fitness, you can make your movements bigger or smaller, even walking up and down stairs, if it is safe for you to do so.
You can always do seated walking if you have mobility or balance issues. Using your arms will elevate your heart rate, and improve your circulation.
If you are feeling lonely and want some company when exercising, checkout my Sit and Go session video on YouTube:
After walking, or any form of exercise, it is important to cool down gradually, walking on the spot and moving heel through toe. Always stretch afterwards, to avoid injury.
Being active regularly, and to your best individual ability, is vital to maintaining good health however; do not exercise if you feel unwell. It is also important not to overdo it, and never exercise to the point of exhaustion, even if you are generally fit.
If it hurts – stop! Your body could be in the wrong position for a particular movement, or you could be pushing yourself too far and too quickly. Just take it easy and enjoy yourself.
Blog post by Kathleen Turnbull: BA Hons MAR FHT CNHC REPs