Our physiotherapists can help empower you to keep as active as possible
We work with our multidisciplinary teams to help you find relief from distressing symptoms such as fatigue, pain and breathlessness, and provide rehabilitation, appropriate exercises and advice to maximise and maintain your physical independence for as long as possible. At Willen Hospice we are committed to supporting you to keep active, especially while there are restrictions in place and some people are in isolation.
Why is physical activity important?
As humans, we are designed to move. Being active helps us in a variety of ways:
It helps to stop your body becoming weaker and weaker as the less you do can become a vicious circle and you do even less and so it goes on.
Activity can help you feel less tired, less worried, stronger, more confident and makes doing general activities easier.
Everyone is different, some like exercise, some don’t. Activity doesn’t have to be about doing exercises; it’s about finding activities that you enjoy doing to keep your body moving.
How much exercise is recommended?
The national guideline for adults is to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. Moderate-intensity means you get a little warm and breathe slightly faster (but still able to hold a conversation) when you are being active, this level will vary from person to person. It is also advised that people do strengthening exercises twice a week. If you are just starting activity, you need to gradually build this up, start with 10 minutes a day.
Start slowly and build up gradually
Do not exercise if you are unwell
Wear well-fitting footwear and comfortable clothing
Drink plenty of water
If you have bone problems, avoid high impact exercises such as running and zumba
Avoid uneven surfaces and activities that risk falling, especially if you have bone problems
If any exercise or activity causes or worsens pain or other symptoms, stop doing them and contact your health care professional
If you have lymphoedema, wear your garment if you have one and avoid heavy repetitive exercises
Avoid bending forwards if you have back or bone problem
Activities to do at home
Everyone is different, every home is different. Here are a few ideas to help you to keep active, especially when you can’t go out or access leisure facilities.
Find ways to get up more frequently from your chair: You could keep the TV remote next to the TV for example so you have to get up every time you need it
Use the stairs if you have them and can manage them safely: Maybe use the upstairs toilet during the day to encourage you to use the stairs more often
Do some house work – vacuuming or light dusting depending on the intensity levels you need
Go for a walk around your home or your garden – put a coat on if it’s cold outside but take care if wet and rainy
Gardening is a lovely way to be active, being around nature is also very good for lifting your mood too. You can be digging, mowing, weeding, planting, potting, watering. Consider gardening at your garden table or using a small watering can for lighter exercise.
Sticking to it
Being active and doing exercises isn’t easy for everyone. There are a few ways to keep you on track:
Keep a diary – you will be able to see how much you do each time and how you improve
Stick to a regular routine, like taking you take medication at regular times, do so with exercise or activity. Set a timer on your phone or kitchen clock
Try and find something that you like doing. If you can’t really think of something then do activity whilst doing something you like – for example do chair exercises when watching TV
Find an exercise buddy, you can send your buddy updates to motivate you
Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a day, you are human. Try and get back on track as soon as possible
Loved ones can help to motivate you but be firm if you feel they are pushing you too much, it is important to do things at a pace and time that works for you
Here is some useful advice about staying active during Covid-19
Watch a video on Coping With Breathlessness
Watch a video demonstrating Seated Exercises
In this video we present a series of Standing Exercises for you to do in the comfort of your own home. Here are more resources to keep you healthy and active. If you need advice, please call our Physiotherapy team on 01908 663636.
We can only provide the care we do thanks to the incredible generosity of our community, through their continued volunteering, fundraising and donations throughout the year. Your donation will enable us to continue providing care and support to those facing a life-limiting diagnosis, and to support their loved ones.
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