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Why is keeping active important?

During the COVID19 crisis, our normal routines are interrupted and we are all looking for ways in which we can take exercise and keep moving inside and close to our homes. 

There is lots of official guidance available (UK CMO Guidance 2019) and evidence on the benefits of physical activity and avoiding sitting still too long. 

Physical activity is not just about getting out of breath - it is important to build strength, balance and flexibility as well. 

Muscle and bone strength are important in keeping us moving at any age, but as we grow older or we deal with common health conditions, strengthening activities are essential if we want to be able to make the most out of life. We can build muscle strength through resistance activities (lifting weights, using resistance bands or other equipment to provide resistance) and bone strength through some impact activities (for example running). 

Balance activities involve keeping your balance which staying still or whilst moving. This can be as simple as standing on one leg or walking backwards (after checking the area behind you is clear of course!). 

The easiest way of getting all these different benefits of keeping active is to find activities that combine these different elements. Whilst we are all at home more, these include standing up from a sitting position, stair climbing, Tai Chi, dance, brisk walking and some sporting activities that you can do at home. 

We know that by keeping ourselves moving during the COVID19 situation will help our physical health and mental wellbeing. Planning our physical activity will help us put some routine and structure into the day, will help manage our stress levels and improve our sleep - and don’t forget it can be fun too! 

If you are living with a health condition there are other reasons why being physically active is important to you:

  • Being active can help you manage your condition and the symptoms you experience, reducing their impact and severity, as well as boosting you mood. 
  • Being physically active can give you a sense of control over your body, as long as you adapt that activity in a way that suits you. 
  • Being active can connect you with others- people in your own household, family and friends via videolinks or online groups and classes. Having an activity that you can talk to others about, that recognises but is not limited to your health condition, can be very positive for your mental wellbeing 

You may already be used to being physically active and are finding that for now, you cannot do many of the things that you usually do. 

We want to help you find new ways to keep moving. 

Are you feeling the effects of sitting still at home for too long? If so, we have given you some simple tips to keep you moving and help prevent the ill-effects on your health that sitting can bring. 

Whatever your usual activity level and whatever health condition you have, we know that people like you across Wales are trying to build some form of physical activity into their new daily routines. We hope to share some of their stories on this website in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to hear how creative people are being and how they are motivating themselves and their families to get moving more. 

If you are self-isolating because of your health condition but are well, you can exercise safely at home or in the garden if you have one, as long as you follow social distancing guidance. There are links to resources to help and guide you here. 

If you are unwell or experiencing a bad day in terms of your condition, please save your energy to get better. If you have recently recovered from illness (whether COVID19 or any other illness), take your time to become physically active again, gradually building up to your normal activity levels before trying anything extra or new. 

Explore more

How to keep physically active at and close to home

There are lots of things you can do to safely keep active in and around your home

What tools are available to help?

There are many free online tools and resources to support you to keep moving, including some specifically recognising the nature of your health condition.