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Active at Home booklet to help older adults be more active

Active at Home booklet to help older adults be more active

Categories: Health & Wellbeing Sport Industry News

New booklet for older adults available to local authorities and partners to prevent deconditioning through being Active at Home

A new national Active at Home booklet will help older adults undertake physical activity at home to help them prevent physical deconditioning that increases their risk of falls, loss of physical capacity and increased need for care during Covid-19.

Public Health England, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) and Sport England developed the booklet to provide practical guidance to older adults on home-based activities to maintain their strength and balance. It follows concerns that low levels of physical activity in older adults will lead to reduced fitness resulting in loss of independence and need for care in the future,1 and the recent statement from the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty that “There is no situation, no age and no condition where exercise is not a good thing”.

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines2 recommend adults should aim to be active every day and undertake activities to improve strength on at least two days each week. This particularly applies to older adults, as there is a natural decline in strength from the age of 40-50 and for those over 65 years muscle and bone strengthening exercises are essential.3

While young people and families with children are accessing online resources to keep them active at home, many older adults do not have access or the confidence to use the internet. Survey data suggests that older adults (55+) are struggling to stay as active as usual during the Covid-19 pandemic, with considerable disruption to their activity levels. While 24% say they have been more active than before the outbreak, considerably more (38%) report doing less.4

The booklet is aimed primarily at older adults for use by local authorities and others who support them. It has been developed with the support and experts from a range partners, including Age UK, the Centre for Ageing Better and the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy.

It is available for download for printing and / or localisation (e.g. with local branding and contact details) from the PHE Campaign Resource Centre. Printed 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.

For local authorities in England that are unable to print copies, 250,000 copies are being printed that will be provided on request in batches of up to 5,000.

To find out more, please visit the PHE Campaign Resource Centre or contact physicalactivity@phe.gov.uk.

For more resources and advice in staying active during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please visit our adults Active at Home webpage, where we have highlighted useful resources and advice aimed at older people.