Taking the first steps to being physically active can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you’re suffering from a long-term health condition.
Coupled with the fear and uncertainty over what to do and where to start, it’s an issue our Live Active service encounters on a regular basis.
The good news is Live Active is specifically geared towards helping people to overcome those barriers.
However you’re feeling, whatever obstacles you face, Live Active is here to help you get moving more.
By providing tailored, ongoing support and physical activity programmes, our Live Active team has an impressive record of assisting people to manage their health conditions while improving their all-round health and wellbeing.
Accessed through either GP or self-referral, the service welcomes anyone over the age of 18 with a long-term health condition, who is currently inactive.
According to Live Active Manager Chelsea Mears-Graham, one of the keys to emerging from inactivity is to take things slowly.
“If you’re starting from the position of being inactive – that’s sitting or lying down for long periods each day –start gently with some kind of light physical activity,” said Chelsea.
“The aim is to be physically active every day and there are day-to-day light activities you can do around the home to get you started.
“A gentle 20-to-30-minute walk daily can have many benefits, from helping to reduce blood pressure to improving mental wellbeing and mobility.
“Thinking about making those changes to your daily activity levels can be the biggest challenge to overcome, but those small changes every day can have a big impact on your health and wellbeing.”
“Believe it or not things like cleaning and dusting, vacuuming, making the bed and getting up to make a cup of tea all count as ‘light activity’.
“Even just doing sit to stands from a chair or sofa or stepping up and down on your stairs are simple ways to increase your active daily living.”
Doing these types of exercises at least twice a week in conjunction with other light activities all help to improve health, strength and mobility and will edge you closer to more moderate activity levels.
Here are a few chair-based exercises you can try at home – just choose a solid, stable chair – preferably without arms so it doesn’t restrict your movement – and make sure it’s on a non-slip surface.
This stretch is good for posture.
1. Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend your arms out to the side.
2. Gently push your chest forward and up until you feel a stretch across your chest.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
This stretch will develop and maintain flexibility in the upper back.
1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders.
2. Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds.
3. Repeat on the right side.
Do 5 times on each side.
This exercise will strengthen hips and thighs, and improve flexibility.
1. Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair.
2. Lift your left leg with your knee bent as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control.
3. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Do 5 lifts with each leg.
This stretch will improve ankle flexibility and lower the risk of developing a blood clot.
1. Sit upright, hold on to the side of the chair and straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.
2. With your leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you.
3. Point your toes back towards you.
Try 2 sets of 5 stretches with each foot.
This exercise builds shoulder strength.
1. Sit upright with your arms by your sides.
2. With palms forwards, raise both arms out and to the side, and up as far as is comfortable.
3. Return to the starting position.
Keep your shoulders down and arms straight throughout. Breathe out as you raise your arms and breathe in as you lower them. Repeat 5 times.
Good mental health and wellbeing is just as important and that’s often gained from being with others and doing things that you enjoy – both great ways to boost health and happiness.
If you struggle to get out of the house due to a health condition or you feel isolated, again it can be hard to know where to start with socialising and finding the confidence to do so.
Don’t worry, the Live Active service can help you out too!
They offer a weekly programme of sessions across Tameside for members and non-members which combine socialising with fun, physical activities.
You can join a gentle guided 30-minute Walk and Talk session for fresh air and exercise for free at various locations around the borough.
Try your hand at kurling, an adapted indoor version of curling, get involved with an Active Session which includes dance and Tai Chi or have a go at a lower impact exercise class such as Zumba Gold.
If you like crafts and gardening, give Sow & Sew a go down at the Ash Road Allotments in Droylsden.
Take a look at the Live Active Community Timetable – you’re sure to find something you fancy and even if you don’t take part in an activity at first, it will give you the chance to have a chat, a brew and meet like-minded people.
She was in the same position as many others who’d been inactive for a long period of time – frozen by the fear of the next steps.
“I was full of dread,” said Debra.
“I hadn’t exercised for over 25 years and the thought was daunting and scary.
“At my consultation the staff were very welcoming, didn’t judge and only wanted to help me on the path to better health.
“This appointment was followed by an induction in the gym. Although I achieved more than I thought I could in that session, I was still terrified of walking into a gym alone and decided I wasn’t ready to take that step. My confidence was at an all-time low.
“I decided that perhaps group settings were for me. I booked on a couple of classes and now there is no looking back.
“I was so welcomed in the groups which have such a relaxed and friendly approach that I couldn’t wait for the next classes.
“The Live Active staff are friendly, approachable and supportive – I couldn’t ask for more. I am even trying something totally new for me – kurling!
“Attending the classes has given me the confidence to try something new, that exercise is for all and it really does make you feel better and can give you a brighter outlook for the future.
“I am aiming towards being able to walk our very strong Labrador, Charlie, and now I feel like I will get there with the support of Live Active.”
If you’d like to be more ‘Debra’ and you feel like you’d really benefit from the expert support and guidance of the Live Active service – you can speak to a member of the team by calling on 0161 366 4860 or emailing LiveActive@Activetameside.com
You can find out more about the service and what it offers, along with class timetables and downloadable home workout guides here.
Consultations are free and members can access community sessions for free.
As a Live Active member you’ll receive a heavily discounted membership at our Active Tameside centres or you can choose to pay-as-you-go.
If you’re referred for weight management, you’ll receive a free 12-week membership to help get you started towards your weight loss goal.
Your card, your choice. Choice is a great thing in life, so you’ve come to the right place. With so many ways to spend your Active Choice Card you’ll never be stuck for fun family times, fitness and wellbeing times, Fuel cafes catch-up times and for those activity must-haves (forgotten the goggles, stylish swimwear) you can also spend it at our in-centre stores.