New booklet to help older adults keep active

A new booklet aims to help older adults keep up their activity levels while isolating due to coronavirus. The Active at Home booklet is being made available to local authorities and partners to prevent ‘deconditioning’ in older adults. A drop in physical activity levels can lead to physical deconditioning that increases the risk of falls, loss of physical capacity and increased need for care during the coronavirus crisis.

The Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines recommend adults should aim to be active every day and do activities to improve strength on at least two days each week – with this particularly applying to older adults due to a natural decline in strength from the age of 40-50, meaning muscle and bone strengthening exercises are essential for those aged over 65. Many older adults do not have access to, or the confidence to use, the internet to find exercise resources, with our own research suggesting those aged 55 and above are struggling to stay as active as usual during this time – 38% report doing less activity than before.

The booklet is intended for use by local authorities and others who support older adults, and has been developed by Sport England, Public Health England, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine – with expert support from a range of partners, including Age UK, the Centre for Ageing Better and the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy.

Printed copies will be distributed within 250,000 ‘shielding boxes’ by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to people defined, on medical grounds, as extremely vulnerable.

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