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Keeping yourself active is important during these changing times.
Keeping yourself active is important during these changing times.

The best exercises to keep you safe at home

WITH self isolation in full force, many people are not as active as usual, which can have devastating effects on their physical and mental well being.

The focus should now shift to what people can do at home to keep themselves healthy.

"Exercise is not only important for keeping you moving, it also has a positive effect on mood, energy and even immunity," says seniors health expert and author, Taylor Harrison.

"Just because people are required to stay home more, does not mean that they cannot exercise, they just need to be creative and may need to get some guidance and support."

Mr Harrison has been running the Active Seniors Health Centres in Sydney, where they have written over 25,000 exercise programs for seniors over the past 15 years.

They have had to close their doors due to the current pandemic, however they are now supporting people to exercise safely and effectively at home.

"The key is personalising the exercises to suit your needs," Mr Harrison said.

"If you are weaker in the legs, you need to focus on strengthening those muscles. Or if balance is an issue, practise some safe balance exercises."

Here are the four best exercises that Mr Harrison recommends to keep you moving. It is important to note that these are standard exercises though and do not take your personal circumstances into account.

Please do not perform them if they cause you any pain or discomfort. It is always best to get advice from a health professional if you are unsure.

Toe raises:

Going up on to your toes and slowly lowering down is a great way to strengthen the calf muscles which are at the back of your lower legs. These help with walking, stair climbing, improving your balance and even improving circulation through your feet, particularly important if you are sitting more. Please hold onto something to steady yourself and perform as many as you can comfortably up to 10 times in one go.

 

Knee extensions:

While sitting, straighten out the leg by tensing the thigh muscle. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds then relax and bend the knee to return to your starting position. Perform this 10 times on each leg. This is great for strengthening the thigh muscle and keeping the knee healthy.

 

Wall or bench push-up:

This is a great exercise to keep the arms strong as well as the core and back. It is also a simple exercise to progress in terms of how challenging it is. The lower you are when doing the push up the more challenging it is. For example doing a push up with your hands on a bench is harder than against a wall. Make sure to keep your torso straight and move slowly up and down. Perform up to 10 of these.

 

Single leg stands:

This is probably the simplest and easiest way to improve your balance. It is also a great test for how good your balance is. If you are able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds without putting your foot down or holding onto something, your risk of a fall is dramatically reduced. When performing this exercise, please keep a wall directly behind you and have something to hold onto to support yourself. Try and stand as steady as possible for a total of 30 seconds. If you need to steady yourself, don't restart the count, just continue on from where you were up to. You can increase the challenge of the exercise by looking around or even closing your eyes, though this is only for the advanced. Please be safe with this.

 

"The exercises above are four of my favourites - simple exercises to keep you moving," Mr Harrison said.

However, the best and safest exercises are the ones that have been prescribed for you as an individual and taking your medical history into account."

Active Seniors is now giving individualised exercise programs designed for people to do at home. People can be assessed and given their exercises using an online platform, which sends videos of the emails and instructions.

Active Seniors is also doing virtual consults via phone, Facetime and Skype.To find out more go to https://www.activeseniors.net.au/online-program/

To help people get through this tough time, Active Seniors is offering $20 off its three-month program ($70 instead of $90).

Use coupon code web20 to claim this discount.