Top Tips for Keeping Active Around the Home
Sitting back and relaxing can seem like the easy option when you’re spending time at home, but don’t forget how important it is to keep active. By doing so, you help avoid serious health conditions such as poor circulation, heart disease and diabetes.
It has been scientifically proven that sitting down for prolonged periods of time can be damaging to your health. Doing regular low impact exercise can help combat those health risks and boost your energy levels.
Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings Dip COT HCPC, advises doing these six simple exercises around the home – some can be done when standing and others will need to be done from a chair or sofa. They will improve your general health and mobility; helping to maintain your independence.
This simple exercise is great for beginners as you can remain seated throughout if you choose. Arm raises help to increase upper body mobility and build shoulder strength.
It’s important to remember that if you spend a lot of time sitting down at home, it is worth considering an ergonomic chair with orthopaedic lumbar support for your back and neck. These keep pressure off aching muscles and sore joints.
- Sit upright on your chair with your arms by your sides.
- With your palms forwards, raise both arms out and to the side and up as far as is comfortable hold for a second or two, then lower slowly.
- Repeat this five times, then rest.
Upper body twists
This is an excellent way of developing and maintaining flexibility in the upper back. They can be done from a seated position (as illustrated in the walk through) or if you’re feeling up to it, why not try them out whilst stood up waiting for the kettle to boil?
- Sit upright with feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders.
- Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable.
- Hold for five seconds. Repeat going right. Do five of each.
The less active you are, the higher the risk of joint stiffness and blood clots. Ankle stretches are extremely beneficial for those who would like to increase flexibility and strength in the ankles and it helps maintain effective blood circulation.
- Sit upright, hold onto the side of the chair and straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.
- With leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you.
- Point toes back towards you.
- Try two sets of five stretches with each foot
The chest stretch exercise is excellent for improving posture and flexibility; also reducing discomfort in the back, neck and shoulders. It contributes to the prevention of chronic back pain and secondary problems occurring in the spine.
- Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend arms out to the side.
- Gently push your chest forwards and up until you feel a stretch across your chest.
- Hold for five to ten seconds and repeat five times.
This exercise is ideal for reducing aches, pains and general stiffness in the neck and encourages neck mobility and flexibility.
- Sit upright with shoulders down. Look straight ahead.
- Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable.
- Hold for five seconds and return to starting position.
- Repeat to the right as you did with the left.
- Do three rotations on each side
Calf raises are an easy to execute exercise, keeping the lower leg mobile and in shape.
- Stand behind your chair, placing both hands on the back of it for stability.
- Lift both heels off the floor as far as is comfortable, keeping the movement slow and controlled (as if standing on tiptoes).
- Repeat this exercise five times.
To make it more challenging and incorporate an element of balance, try doing the movement without the aid of the chair.
It is recommended that you do these exercises every day. If you can’t, doing a few of them weekly will, over time, improve your overall fitness and mobility, making you feel healthier and more full of vitality.