Britain’s chief medical officers issued new guidance on exercise this month. It was a straight forward and encouraging report because it emphasised that moderate exercise was good for you. No need to be working up a sweat in the gym :-), providing you do it frequently – short 10 minute walks, ironing, housework, shopping and even just standing up can all help.
The report underlines the fact that “older people should try to be active every day” and goes on to say “being active has enormous health and well-being benefits. It protects against many of the biggest causes of early death like heart disease and strokes, and can promote good mental health”.
In the ExtraCare Charitable Trust retirement housing projects, there are many ways of keeping active:-
– The obvious – exercise classes, armchair aerobics, tai chi, swimming;
– The vigorous – work out in the gym to a fitness programme on exercise machines;
– The leisurely – walking, dancing, gardening, fishing, archery, bowls;
– The adventurous – the annual ‘Brolly Walk’, cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats (in the gym);
– The occasionally spectacular – walking with wolves, completing the three peaks challenge, swimming with dolphins in Mexico and walking the Great Wall of China;
Meanwhile, the same Department of Health that issued these new guidelines is also responsible for funding thousands of older people in residential care, who are left sitting in chairs all day and never go outside at all. Its appointed regulator, the Care Quality Commission, happlessly watches on, blissfully ignorant of any need to promote active lifestyles for older people.