Keeping active with regular physical activity will not only make you feel good about yourself but can also have enormous benefits for your health.
The most recent World Health Organisation guidelines for physical activity recommend that all adults should undertake 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity per week. This includes activities such as walking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
"Do what you want to do not need to do"
For those who are limited by health conditions, the advice is to take as much physical activity as your health allows.
Active Body, Positive Mind
Staying active both mentally and physically is extremely important as we age. By engaging in meaningful daily activity, you can help maintain positive mental health, a sense of wellbeing, reduce social isolation, strengthen your bones and muscles and reduce the risk of falls.
It can also help you control your weight, reduce your blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular diseases whilst increasing your chances of living independently for longer.
Spending time with your family; playing with the grandchildren, going on walks or even undertaking daily tasks like popping to the shops or doing house work all contribute to health, independence and a positive sense of well-being. Having limited physical mobility means losing the ability to do these everyday tasks, therefore staying active is very important.
The daily tasks we do
There are several types of daily tasks that we engage in and these primarily come under three headings:
Activities ranging from showering, housework and sports/exercise, to walking or visiting friends can be helpful. We all have different personal priorities, therefore when it gets to the point that we are finding some things more difficult than they used to be it is important to decide which tasks we want to carry out ourselves and which tasks we can happily delegate to others.
Let go of the guilt
As a society we are often reluctant to ask for help but the more we can accept when we need a helping hand the better it generally is for everyone; you get to focus on what you enjoy and loose the stress of trying to keep on top of everything while your friends and family are more often than not very happy to help out, especially if it can bring them peace of mind too. And of course for those in the position to be able to, hiring a gardener, cleaner or other kind of home help for a few hours can take away some of the most physical tasks leaving you to enjoy the tasks you are more comfortable with.
The key is to decide what you want to do. By managing the daily tasks that you see as important to yourself you will get a greater sense of satisfaction which in turn will have a positive effect on your wellbeing. Think about what time of the day you feel most energetic and able to complete the more strenuous tasks. This in turn will help you to prioritise and distribute activities throughout the week effectively. If you are unable to complete tasks standing, then organise your work space so that you can complete the task sitting.
Daily tasks as exercise
You can consider your daily tasks as exercise so once you have managed to delegate the most onerous ones focus on the ones you enjoy and gradually build this up, for example consider a brisk walk to the shop instead of using the car, and try and reduce the amount of time spent being physically inactive overall.
There is a overwhelming body of research that highlights the benefits of being physically active as we age in order to ensure our health and wellbeing. You can also take a look at Stannah stairlifts exercise programme designed by Kate Sheehan, one of the country’s leading OT’s, for exercise-inspired ideas to stay fit and healthy.