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Keeping active can do wonders for your health in later life

PUBLISHED: 07:11 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 07:11 13 May 2020

If you go online there are plenty of ways to help stay fit, even if you're in your senior years

If you go online there are plenty of ways to help stay fit, even if you're in your senior years

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Pete Kelley says there are plenty of online resources to help senior people stay fit during the current times of restricted activities

It’s not a pretty sight... me terrifying the cat, first thing in the morning, by tying myself in knots on the floor.

But as a 68-year-old I love my bit of daily yoga, and this month Age UK Norwich wants to spotlight the importance of staying active.

“We know,” said the charity’s chief executive officer, Dan Skipper, “that physical activity is good for mental health and general well-being as well as fitness. It can be simple, easy – for people at all levels – and fun. The benefits are still there.”

The city-based charity has moved quickly to replicate online many of the activities it usually offers through classes and social meet-ups – with yoga, mindfulness, gardening and arts and crafts all available via its website, www.ageuknorwich.org.uk, or its Facebook page.

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These are recorded sessions – so you can dip into them whenever it suits you – and free, with no need to register. One enthusiastic participant, Penny Banks from Lakenham area, told me: “I joined the Age UK Dance to Health class at Harford Community Centre about a year ago. It gets you moving… and helps with coordination, too, which can be a problem for older people. You don’t have to be particularly fit. Someone used to come along who used a wheelchair, and another person has taken part using two sticks. For some it’s based on seated exercise. But it can still make a huge difference.”

There are, of course, a wide range of other sessions people can take part in. Typical is a Fakenham company called easyactive8 (www.easyactive8.com) which Age UK has been in touch with because it has video call (Zoom) based sessions run by professional instructors and targeted at seniors. These do involve a fee, but sessions can cover seated exercise, yoga, aerobics, pilates and dance. Being Zoom-based, they have the advantage of offering feedback, and a chance to ask questions or chat to others taking part.

Penny, who has been using easyactive8 said: “Their staff even talked me through setting up Zoom, over the phone”.

The Age UK website lists a range of companies you could try, but that’s a flavour of the kind of opportunities out there. YouTube is another good source of coaching sessions.

I asked Penny for her ‘top tip’ for locked-down oldsters.

“Just keep it up,” she said, “whatever you’re doing… and have fun.”

Well, that’s me told, must get back to the yoga.


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