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Keeping active and well

Keeping active with suggestions for doing so at home

Finding the time, money or energy to get active can be hard at the best of times. Now it feels more important than ever to look after ourselves.

The simple message is that physical activity delivers immediate mental health and social benefits and has a long-term positive impact on our physical health.

In our recent research and insight project, many carers told us that it is not always easy to do physical activity but that they would like to do more. 

There are lots of simple and free ways to become more active and these activities can be fitted into your day, as and when you get the chance, alongside your caring.  

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t have much time to dedicate to yourself at the moment or if you’re not able to follow your usual activity routine. Every minute counts - doing some physical activity is good, but if you can take part in more that’s even better. 

Here are six ideas for getting active whilst staying at home or nearby:

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1/ Find a fitness guru

Popular trainers like Joe Wicks (The Body Coach)Yoga with Adriene or The Girl with the Pilates Mat have YouTube channels with a variety of videos available to play for free at any time that suits you.

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2/ Be resourceful

Keeping fit doesn’t mean you have to use expensive equipment. Items you have around the home already, such as tins of beans, can be used as weights. 

The BBC Tea Time Toning plan is an exercise plan you can follow to increase strength in your arms by weight training with items you have in the cupboard. 

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3/ Try strengthening activities

Strength and balance activities can be particularly beneficial for older people to prevent falls. 

'10 Today' has created a series of 10 minute audio files with enjoyable and easy routines involving gentle stretching and moving exercises. You can listen to the audio clips on the 10 Today website.

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4/ Make a habit of walking or running

Even a short walk every day can make a big difference to your mental and physical health, especially if you use the time to listen to a podcast or audio book that you find relaxing. 

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Lots of people find walking or running can help them clear their head and lift their mood. The NHS Active 10 App can help you to monitor and gradually increase your brisk walking over time and the NHS Couch to 5K programme provides a free weekly plan for people who are new to running. 

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5/ Get fit indoors

Gentle chair-based activities can be a good option for people who need something home-based. The NHS page on sitting exercises has pictures and easy to follow instructions. These can be viewed online or downloaded which makes them great for beginners. 

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You could also join one of Carers UK's activity focused Share and Learn sessions such as chair-based martial arts, dancing or yoga. Take a look here to sign up for an upcoming session.

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6/ Adapt activities to suit you

If you have a long-term condition or disability, We Are Undefeatable has suggestions for how you can adapt activities to suit you and prevent you aggravating your condition. 

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Organisations such as MS SocietyDiabetes UK and Parkinsons UK have also developed condition-specific advice which can be accessed on their websites. You may also find these resources useful if you want to get active with the person you care for. 

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Looking for more inspiration for activity ideas you can try at home or nearby?

There are lots more ideas on the Join the movement website and you can share your own activity ideas with us on social media by tagging @CarersUK and using #JoinTheMovement

Carers UK is working with Sport England to help carers in England take part in physical activity, as a way to help their health and wellbeing and reduce loneliness. For more information about this partnership please click here

For other tips on looking after yourself or someone you care for, see our Protecting your mental wellbeing webpage.

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