Greater Manchester is in a predicament. One minute, the lockdown is over and everybody is glad to be out, and the other, it’s rumoured to be back and worse than before. That’s without factoring in a holiday to a country on the government’s blacklist! For some people, self-isolating is easy. For others, it’s tough.
If you’re over-50, you probably fall into the latter category. As well as the fear of losing jobs and being unemployed, the Coronavirus has shown that it targets the older population more than younger ones. If you’re scared about your health, you’re not alone, and you’re not wrong. Exercising at home looks straightforward… when you turn on a Joe Wicks video!
When you’re a little out of shape and not used to putting your wellbeing first, it’s hard to figure out where to start. Plus, it feels as if it’s over-the-top, almost as if you’re embarrassed to take part in HIIT classes in your garden. The good news is, if you are, there are tonnes of simple methods that will help you to maintain your health during a pandemic.
Here are six that you should keep in mind if you’re over-50 and ready to get back on the treadmill.
Stand Up For Yourself
The majority of people like to chill out when at home. If you’ve been working or doing errands for other people, it’s nice to take the weight off and relax when you get a minute to yourself. Of course, the lockdown means you have too much free time. Aside from the boredom, you must also deal with the sitting down.
Sitting down for extended periods is bad for your health as it forces the vital organs to work harder and fluid to pool in the ankles and feet. The former could impact your sleep, which is one reason to stand up more at home. Also, don’t forget that sitting down is bad for your brain as it receives less blood (and oxygen), forcing it to be less active and energetic.
Then, there is your metabolism, which slows by a massive 90% when you spend thirty minutes or more on your bum. To put it bluntly, you need to get off your bum! Several hacks will help, from standing up for every phone call to drinking water regularly. If these don’t work, you can set a timer.
Once it pings, you should stand up and walk around, even if it’s for a couple of minutes and you only go to the kitchen and back.
Standing up for yourself is never as easy as it sounds. You’d love to spend less time sitting in a chair, but you find it hurts to stand for longer than five minutes. Of course, you shouldn’t hurt your body for the sake of sitting down less often as it’s counterproductive. Thankfully, you don’t have to stand up to boost the blood flow to the major organs.
Gentle stretches are fantastic loopholes that allow you to stay seated or lying in some cases while loosening up the veins and arteries and promoting extra O2 to the muscles. Age UK has a list of brilliant stretches that are usually accessible to anyone, regardless. The best are:
- Pull your toes up and tighten your legs while sitting on a chair. Hold for a couple of seconds and do it for both legs if possible.
- Lying down, lift your feet so that your toes point to the sky and then direct them to the floor.
- On a stool, let your back slouch and then use the muscles to straighten it and stretch out.
If you find yourself getting stuck in a rut and don’t have the energy to work out, you can always rely on simple stretches.
Most of the vitamins you need are in the food you eat. Now, if you’ve been lucky, your diet won’t have changed drastically over the past six months. If anything, you may eat better now than before since it’s harder/more expensive to eat out a couple of times a month. Still, some foods weren’t available during the height of the stockpiling pandemic.
Therefore, taking vitamins could prevent nutrient debt. Also, there is the fact that you’re indoors all day to consider. With less sunlight, you’re bound to absorb less vitamin D, a nutrient that’s essential for your mental health and mood. Multi-vitamins aren’t signed off yet, so it’s better to choose the ones that you’re lacking and take them individually.
Another supplement you should think about adding to your routine is CBD oil.
Firstly, it’s legal. Secondly, it won’t get you high (there is no THC). And, thirdly, it affects everything from your metabolism to pain and anxiety levels. Thanks to the latter side-effects, you can exercise for longer as you won’t feel aches and will recover quicker.
Taking supplements should enhance your mental and physical wellbeing, and it only takes a couple of seconds every morning and evening.
Walk When You Go Out
Leaving the house has never been technically illegal, even at the height of the lockdown. Whether a local Greater Manchester lockdown returns or manages to stay away, you can guess that you should be able to go outdoors for the essentials at the very least. That includes exercise.
However, rather than only exercising once a day, you could work out more often by walking when you leave your home. Whether you plan on getting the blood pumping or not, substituting car keys for boots and a coat will benefit your mind and body. Plus, it’s easier to motivate yourself during a health crisis when the things you once took for granted are novel.
Push yourself where possible, yet you shouldn’t go overboard. Walking to the supermarket and back is an incredible way to stay fit, as long as it isn’t a ten-mile trip and you struggle with your legs! Of course, you can walk one-way and come back on the bus or train, or hail a cab.
Make sure you tailor this hack to your individual needs. Otherwise, it could cause more harm than good.
Concentrate On Your Brain
Your brain is the one organ that goes under the radar. As silly as it sounds – it’s the most important part of life – it’s as if you never think about what it goes through and how it needs to unwind. There’s a reason mental health awareness has been lacking for the last couple of decades.
Therefore, it’s vital to focus on your mind so that it remains healthy. A happy brain equals a happy life. The method you choose depends on your personal preference. Most people know that reading is incredibly powerful, but you may not be much of a reader. Rather than trudging through books and not enjoying the experience, you should attempt another activity.
Putting together jigsaw puzzles is a novel way to keep the brain ticking over while staving off boredom, whereas some over-50s prefer to knit because it’s therapeutic and practical. Walking is healthy for your heart and mind, which is the main reason it’s popular among older generations.
However, the key is to understand your limits and use them to influence your decision. Otherwise, your downtime could be frustrating and make your mental health worse.
Jump On The Joe Wicks’ Bandwagon
Joe Wicks has helped a lot of people through lockdown with his Body Coach TV channel on YouTube and his home workouts that are hard but fair. They’re also non-pretentious, which is a winning element since lots of the HIIT stuff can feel corny and cheesy. Unfortunately, his sessions may be too strenuous for you if you’re over-50.
The last thing you want to do is cause a heart attack attempting to stay healthy! Thankfully, Joe Wicks has seen the error of his ways and uploaded a selection of workouts for seniors. At ten minutes in length, they don’t take long to complete, but they’ll get you hot and sweaty before you know it!
It may be lighter, yet it isn’t unhealthy by any stretch of the imagination. Older people have to consider their limitations. Let’s face it – any exercise is positive, especially during a lockdown. Plus, you can always work your way through them and get to a point where you can do harder activities for longer.
Alternatively, you may want to master each one by beating your personal best times. The key is to start small and increase the difficulty step-by-step, whether you up the intensity or the duration of the session.
A lockdown is a challenging scenario for everybody because we haven’t seen anything like this previously. However, the over-50s have it very tough as staying fit, which is essential to a stronger immune system, is less accessible.
With a can-do attitude and a new routine, you can maintain a high level of wellbeing so that your age doesn’t become a concern. All it takes are age-appropriate classes and activities, supplements, and a focus on your mental health.