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Time on our hands? Don’t let staying at home stop you from keeping fit!

Working with diet and fitness expert Rosemary Conley CBE, Editor-in-Chief of FirstPort’s Life & Style magazine, FirstPort is launching a series of filmed mini-workouts. In this blog Rosemary reminds us of the importance of looking after your body during the coronavirus outbreak.

Keeping active can be challenging – and in these testing times staying physically and mentally fit is even more crucial to our wellbeing.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about the different things we can all do during this time of social distancing so that when we return to our normal lives we can feeling healthier. As well as the workouts, I’ve put together a simple way to remember the positive things we can focus on over the coming weeks or months. All you have to do is think of your vowels!

  • A IS FOR ATTITUDE – we should try to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t. The same applies to the current situation we all find ourselves in – try to think of what you are able to do at home, rather than the limitations.
  • E IS FOR EXERCISE – stay fit and active in your home. This could include gardening, spring cleaning, DIY or walking the dog once a day. Try our mini workouts to help you stay fitter, healthier and happier.
  • I IS FOR INTAKE – it is really important that we eat healthily to help fight the virus – try to avoid snacking on biscuits and high fat crisps and savoury snacks, and try to eat 3 meals a day including plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • O IS FOR OPPORTUNITIES – suddenly we have time! Now is the perfect time to turn our hand and our brain to try something new – your favourite hobby, writing your life story or why not learn a new language online?
  • U IS FOR UTILISE – utilise your skills to help others. What can you do to care for those unable to go out? Find time to speak with them on the phone, Skype or FaceTime.

In this first blog I’m focusing on exercise and ways that everyone can keep fit even when staying at home.

Keeping moving

I’ve spent most of my life teaching people about the benefits of regular exercise. I often think of it as investing in a super-saver bank account that pays double dividends. It not only helps us become fitter, it helps keep our minds active and has been proven to aid our mental health too – it’s regularly recommended to help those suffering from depression. Staying active really is a win-win for everyone.

Doing things at our own pace and level of difficulty doesn’t mean it’s any less good for us. Trials have been done to see how quickly older people increased their fitness through regular exercise compared with younger folk – and have shown that age makes no difference. Whether you’re in your 20s or 80s, regular exercise increases fitness at a similar rate. The key is to get your heart rate elevated and keep your muscles strong.

It’s harder to get out of the house to exercise at the moment, but there are plenty of ways you can keep fit in the comfort of your own home. The outside world is slowing down, but that doesn’t mean you need to.

I’ve put together a series of simple exercise videos to provide some inspiration and motivation that can all be done while seated. As well as walking around periodically, chair exercises are also great for people who are working from home and want to make sure they can keep moving in between a schedule of online meetings. Spending time hunched over a laptop, is not good for our posture or joints (who knew working from a kitchen table could be so uncomfortable!). They’re also great for key workers who spend a lot of time on their feet and want to mobilise and work their muscles once they get home from a long shift. And, of course, they’re great for people who are less mobile.

Avid readers of FirstPort’s retirement customer magazine, Life & Style, will remember we also included in the Autumn edition some simple exercises that can be done using a chair. From neck and shoulders, to legs and ankles, there really is no part of your body you can’t put to work. You can read about these on pages 18-22 of the online edition of the magazine, available here.

I recommend trying to do some of these exercises once a day to help keep you fit and active. Work according to your ability and fitness level, gradually increasing the level of intensity and number of repetitions. It’s amazing how quickly one can improve with just a little practice and dedication.

Next I’ll be looking at intake. The second part of the health equation – diet – is just as important as exercise. Look out for a new blog post from me with some tips and ideas for eating healthily in these challenging times.

Until then, I hope you enjoy the exercises and manage to keep busy and safe while you’re at home.

About the author:

Rosemary Conley CBE is the editor of FirstPort’s Life & Style magazine – which is circulated in print and as an online edition to over 1,000 retirement developments in the UK.  She is best known for her multi-million selling diet books and fitness DVDs and as a TV health and fitness presenter, appearing for seven years on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ with Richard & Judy.

Rosemary Conley was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire in 1999 and in 2001 was the first woman to be given the Freedom of the City of Leicester. In 2004, she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours for ‘services to the fitness and dieting industries’. In 2002, Rosemary appeared on This is Your Life and in 2012 on Dancing on Ice.