Yorkshire-made guide to help older people stay fit during lockdown to go nationwide

A guide developed in Yorkshire to keep older people physically active during the coronavirus lockdown has been reproduced nationally and will be distributed to 250,000 homes across the country.

The Active at Home guide, produced by a team of academics from Sheffield Hallam University, supports older and vulnerable people to stay active and healthy at home.

Since publication in May, it has been distributed to more than 25,000 older and vulnerable people across Sheffield.

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Following this success, Public Health England (PHE) have decided to reproduce the booklet on a national scale. Copies will be distributed within 250,000 shielding boxes by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to people defined as extremely vulnerable on medical grounds.

Pictured, NHS staff outside The Sheffield Diabetes and Endocrine Centre in the city holding the Active at Home guide. Photo credit: Other

Project lead, Dr Anna Lowe, programme Manager for the National Centre of Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM), Sheffield, said: "Being active is essential for our mental and physical wellbeing.

"This booklet is designed to empower and support older and vulnerable people to take daily exercise as well as having a healthy routine to help keep them as physically and mentally strong as possible."

The guide contains exercises and techniques for older or less mobile people to do around the home as well as advice on keeping mentally active.

Dr Lowe, who is based at the university's Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), added physical inactivity can have major implications for everyone, particularly those with "health conditions and also older people whose mobility could be compromised".

The guide containsexercises and techniques for older or less mobile people to do around the home as well as advice on keeping mentally active. Photo credit: Other

She added: "Resources such as this booklet are vital in preventing inactivity by reaching those most at risk."

A further 250,000 copies are being made available for councils across England to distribute and they can also be downloaded from the PHE Campaign Resource Centre.

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults should aim to be active every day and undertake activities to improve strength on at least two days each week.

Research by Sport England found that older adults (55+ years old) are struggling to stay as active as usual during the Covid-19 pandemic, with considerable disruption to their activity levels.

Pictured, Andy Douglas, a GP in Sheffield, with the Active at Home guide. Photo credit: other

While 24 per cent say they have been more active than before the outbreak, considerably more (38 per cent) report doing less

Dr Lowe added: "It has been well received across the city (Sheffield) and we are delighted that Public Health England has chosen to reproduce the booklet on this scale and help those who are older people and those with health conditions around the country to remain as active as possible".

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