Patricia, aged 68, loves to stay fit and exercise. Writing for Independent Age’s Home Truths series, she explains how she is trying to keep active while in lockdown.
My exercise routine
Since the lockdown was announced, and I had to stop all my regular volunteering and exercise classes, I’ve been at home by myself. To be honest, I’m treating lockdown as a little holiday from my hectic lifestyle as it is allowing me to get on with the chores that I’ve been putting off – I’ve done shredding, clearing and my paperwork! I’ve also finally got around to reading all the books I have been meaning to read.
In normal times, I used to do Pilates, Zumba and a dance class most weeks and I’d do a lot of walking. On average, I’d do about 15,000 steps – I am trying to keep this up at the minute, but it’s difficult.. On a good day, I can manage about 10,000 if I go out for a walk.
While I’m stuck at home, I’ve had to find other ways to keep fit. I’ve been doing a lot of YouTube exercises aimed at people in my age group. I’ve done yoga, Zumba and some fat-burning exercises – although I’m snacking so much I’m not sure how much they are working! I’ve also found some videos from the New York City Ballet. They put their warm up videos on YouTube and they are great for people of my age. It’s all about stretching and strengthening your muscles which is exactly what we should be doing.
Going on a walk
There are lots of exercises out there for over 50s and seniors. I have to say, I’m lucky because I live by Tooting Common and some little woodlands. There are lots of trails you can go down and it’s quiet, you can hear the birds and see the flowers. Initially you’d have to turn your head all the time to make sure people were keeping their distance, but we all seem to have gotten the hang of it now. We can all enjoy the park if we keep our distance.
I was horrified to hear about Brockwell Park being closed nearby over one of the weekends. Parks are a godsend for people like me if you don’t have an outside space at home. But, people have to make sure they are paying attention to Government advice and keeping their distance. It would be such a shame to lose that outside space, particularly in a city where lots of people live without gardens.
The importance of keeping fit
I think keeping fit is so important, particularly during this lockdown. It’s so easy to get up, put the telly on and just sit there all day and before you know it, the day is gone, and you’ve done nothing. Every morning, I get out of bed, have a cup of tea and get straight into my exercises. I exercise for an hour or two and then I can potter around, clean, and play some scrabble. The exercise is what sets me up for the day.
Getting older, it’s important to exercise your limbs, although I still have aches and pains and areas that I need to work on. The other day, I found out just how weak my upper body is when one of my exercises was focused on that area, but I’ll work on it.
One of the things I’m finding is that I’m snacking a lot at this time, so in my mind I’m equating exercise to snacking. I’m balancing things out!
My top tips for staying fit
My main tip is that you don’t have to do a lot to keep fit. You can do your exercise in a chair just by lifting your legs or arms a few times. It doesn’t have to be a lot and you don’t need any special equipment. You could try going up and down the stairs and if you’re not ready for that, just try the first couple of steps. Even something like rolling your shoulders can stop you getting stiff if you are sitting down all day.
It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but even 10 or 20 minutes of exercise will help to get the blood flowing. Take it slowly, stretch your muscles and you’ll feel better
Some of the YouTube videos I’ve been using
SaraBeth 30 Mins full Body morning Yoga Stretch
Jenny McClendon – Fit Over 50 – Workout for beginners and seniors (1 hour):
New York City Ballet Company:
The Body Coach – 10 Minutes Workout for Seniors: