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Coronavirus: Self-isolation and exercise at home

Exercise video of the day

Each weekday we'll be choosing a brand new workout video for you to try at home, and adding it here at 10am. If you have a favourite at-home workout video that you'd love to share with other gransnetters, please email us the link at [email protected] 

Today's pick is...Yoga with Adriene's Slow and Gentle Yoga. We hope you enjoy, and scroll down for some tips before you get started and previous exercise videos of the day. And don't forget to let us know how you find today's workout on the thread here.

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Exercising at home for over 50s, 60s, 70s and older

self isolation exercise older people

If you're facing self-isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak, the prospect of being stuck indoors for a long period of time can be daunting - especially considering the effects it may have on your mental and physical health. It's important to keep active while staying home if you're well enough and able to do so. Not only will having a regular exercise slot add routine to your days, but working out is proven to boost mental wellbeing. So grab a cuppa, and read our quick guide to exercise during self-isolation, and don't forget to visit our forum to share your own at-home exercise tips with gransnetters.

Exercise video of the day | Tips for getting started
Types of exercise you can do at home | Exercise videos |
 Can I go for a walk?


Exercising at home - how to get started

at home exercises self isolation

If you're stuck inside for a while, exercise is a great way to keep your body and mind active. Not only are there a plethora of physical health benefits that come from moving around more, but, especially during this pandemic, exercise can take your mind off the distressing news and give you something else to focus on. Here are a few things to bear in mind before you lace up your trainers...

1. Don't exercise if you feel unwell

If you don't feel healthy enough to exercise, it's important that you don't push yourself. Also think about any health conditions or injuries you may have which will affect the type of workout you can do. If exercise isn't on the cards for this reason, why not partake in a sedentary activity to uplift your mood and keep you occupied? For example, we've started a Gransnet story thread here, so if you fancy yourself a budding writer why not join in? If you need some inspiration for what to do, you can ask our wise gransnetters on the forums too.

2. If you don't have equipment improvise

"I follow the Feel Better in 5 Plan by Dr Chatterjee and do a few leg raises, squats and arm exercises with a couple of tins of beans while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. It’s made a rapid difference to my balance and to my joints."

Need some dumbbells but don't have any to hand? Grab some tins or something similar that isn't too heavy for you and get moving!

3. Set the space up 

Ensure you have a clear space to exercise in, and remove any objects on the floor that might cause you to trip. You may also wish to utilise your furniture by doing a chair based workout. It's also important that you are working out on the right surface - nothing too slippy. It might be worth investing in an exercise mat, like this one, if you're planning on doing any floor-based exercises.

Make sure you have plenty of water to hand when you're working out so you can keep hydrated, and remember to always warm up and stretch before starting, and cool down and stretch when you've finished to avoid injuries.

5 types of exercises that are good for working out at home

exercise older people self isolation

1. Yoga 

"I like yoga. I can't always achieve all the poses, but it makes me feel good."

With its focus on flexibility, strength and breathing, yoga is a popular choice with gransnetters. It's an exercise that provides relaxation, so may be a good way to de-stress in these trying times. There are many beginner yoga tutorials on YouTube, but it's important that you start slow and build up.


2. Pilates

"We'll do multiple laps of the garden plus regular trips up and down stairs [while in isolation]. My Pilates teacher has just sent a message to say she's setting up a free online class as most of us are over 70."

Pilates is a method of exercise that focuses on strength-building, with its main focus being on core strength. There are lots of YouTube classes for beginners and, as this gransnetter has shown, some instructors will be holding online classes during the outbreak, so if you attend a regular class it's worth checking to see if these resources are available to you. Just bear in mind that if you are following a video, an instructor won't be able to correct you if your form is incorrect.

3. Walking - at home (yes, really!)

"I discovered Leslie Sansone videos on YouTube - she’s a very jolly, upbeat American who focuses on walking exercises for your living room. I’ve found a great ‘15 minute happy walk’ and various other distances - including ‘American heart foundation three mile walk' in which she does all indoor walking. It's worth a thought."

"I've done chair exercises from YouTube. Now I do Leslie Sansone walking videos five times a week. It takes half an hour and you've walked two miles without ever leaving the living room. Well worth a try if you're often stuck in like me."

Many gransnetters have posted on the forums about these walking videos on YouTube, that get you moving in your own home. These are ideal if you can't leave the house due to isolation and are wanting a way to keep walking daily.


4. Strength training exercises 

"Start gently and build up your strength and stamina slowly." 

If you're looking for at-home routines to try, our strength training page has a video on how to work out around the home, and some easy exercises to get you moving and build up strength from the comfort of your living room (or kitchen, bedroom, wherever you have space).


5. Tai chi 

"What calms me? I do yoga or tai chi at home via YouTube, read, listen to relaxation apps, watch a nice film or TV programme."

Tai chi is a popular hobby for many older people. As it's low-impact and has loads of health benefits, it's a great way to take in some gentle exercise, and you can get started with this by following an online tutorial at home.

Exercise videos

exercise at home isolation

"I've recently been doing the workouts from NHS instructor live videos. There are various workouts, 45 minutes long, and I find them good."

"I have had a knee replacement, and thought I was doomed to walk with a stick forever. However I realised that I needed to build more muscle and begun to work out every day using YouTube videos. I began with seated and functional exercises for seniors. I also liked ‘walk at home’. Later, I graduated to light hand weights and ‘standing abs and cardio’ routines. These resistance routines mean that I now feel more like 35 than 70, can nip up and down stairs with ease, and can kneel easily because my knees are well padded with muscle."

When it comes to fitness at home, there are a wealth of resources available online that make exercising from the comfort of your own home easy and accessible. To get you started, the NHS has a free 'Fitness Studio', which is a series of videos. There's a variety of workouts for different fitness levels, and they even have Pilates workouts that are tailored to certain health conditions, like arthritis and osteoporosis. 

Our page on exercise over 50 also has two videos you can try at home - one on strength training exercises and one on balance exercises. You can find the page and videos here

YouTube is also a fantastic resource for at-home exercisers, as it has thousands of fitness videos available for free. It's worth bearing in mind though, that anyone can upload a video to YouTube, so it may not be a qualified professional instructing you.

Previous Gransnet exercise videos of the day: 

Day 1: Leslie Sansone's Heart Healthy 1 Mile Walk

Day two:The British Heart Foundation's 10 minute living room workout

Here are some of the videos gransnetters have recommended on the forums:

"I like this one. The exercises are really good, and you do feel like you've had a workout at the end of the 15 minutes. He uses water bottles, but I never have those, so use two tins of beans or soup."  

"On YouTube I follow Lesley Sansone's walk a mile nearly every day as they are only 15 to 20 minute slots but of course you can do several at once. She only has four simple steps so no learning a routine. If you walk a lot you may find it a bit slow or boring but it is enough for me."


Can I go for a walk? 

You are allowed to leave the house for one outdoor exercise a day, like a walk, run or cycle, but you must stay two metres away from anyone outside your household.

If you are going for a walk, you should stay in the local area so you are not travelling unneccessarily. For more information on what you can and can't do, please check the government's FAQs here.

Disclaimer: The information on our health pages is only intended as an informal guide and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice. Gransnet would urge you to consult the NHS coronavirus website if you are concerned you or someone you know has the disease.


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