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Staying active while staying at home: 5 tips for older Queenslanders

An older couple dance together in their kitchen.
Activity can be as fun as having a dance in the ktichen!

Many older Queenslanders love living in our state because the warm weather lets them to get out and stay active all year around. In fact, a lot of people move to Queensland for this reason!

If you’ve been missing your normal activities recently while you’ve had to stay home, you’re not alone. But you don’t have to just stay on the couch while we wait for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to pass. Here are five ideas to get active from the safety of your own home.

Remember: if you’re going to start a new exercise routine, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor first. They’ll be able to let you know whether a certain type of activity is right for you and your health.

1. Gardening for good health

Gardening has many health benefits, with a good dose of physical activity being one of them. Gardening makes you move in ways you normally wouldn’t – think stretching, reaching and lifting – and is great for your flexibility and strength.

If you don’t have an established garden already, or don’t have a yard to grow one in, why not start with a few pot plants? Have someone pick up the necessary supplies and drop them off for you, so you can spend some time each week exercising your green thumb.

2. Yoga for flexibility and falls prevention

Yoga is a type of exercise where you move your body through different postures. It promotes strength, stability and flexibility and can be great for preventing falls. It can also be combined with mindfulness and awareness teaching to promote mental wellbeing. Similar to yoga are other exercises, including Pilates and tai chi, which have similar benefits.

You might be put off trying yoga because you know the practice often requires you to sit and lie on the floor. But if you’re not comfortable with getting down on the ground, you can also do yoga while you sit or hold onto a chair.

Many yoga studios are now offering online classes while they’re shut during the pandemic, so if you’re keen to try it out, it’s worth calling a local studio to ask if there’s a class you can join from home. We’ve also linked to some beginning yoga videos you can use by yourself.

Healthier. Happier. – Easy yoga you can do at home

Chair yoga for seniors

Gentle chair yoga routine

3. Swap lawn bowls for at-home sports

Missing your favourite outdoor sport? Sports like tennis, lawn bowls and golf require agility and improve hand eye coordination. You might also enjoy them because they give you an opportunity to be social or let loose your competitive streak.

But you don’t have to miss out on having some sporting fun while you’re at home. If you can get your hands on a set, play some boules or bocce in the backyard. No yard? No worries! Could you have an indoor bowling night in the hallway, using a ball to knock over some books or water bottles? You could even challenge your friends and family to set up the same at their houses and have a video competition.

Up for a challenge? See if you can replicate this amazing ball trick a mother and son mastered in the US – all you need are some pots and pans and a ping pong or other bouncing ball.

A man holds a bocce ball in his hand.

4. Work on weight training

If your main form of physical activity is normally walking, take this opportunity to mix up your movements. Weight or resistance training uses hand weights or your body weight to strengthen your muscles. It’s great for your heart and lung health, as well as your muscles and bones.

To get started, try this at home workout for over 60s by Healthier. Happier. In it, you’ll use weights (either hand weights you own or household objects like cans of food) and your body weight to get a quick burst of activity.

And women, don’t worry that doing weights will make you too muscly. Weight training is particularly important for women, because it can help you maintain bone mass, which women tend to lose more quickly after menopause. You can read more about why women should try exercising with weights here.

5. Boogie on down

Whether you work on a waltz with your partner or you shake it solo, dancing is a fun, easy way to move your body. There’s no right or wrong way to dance, just feel the beat and enjoy yourself! The best things about dancing at home? You can turn the tunes up as loud as you want, and no one can see you as you bust a move!

If you’re at home with the family or you live in a shared residence and feel a little silly dancing in front of others, why not make that part of the fun? Play Daggy Dancing, and have each person take turns in leading the group with their daggiest dance move. We promise you’ll get a workout from laughing as well!

Bonus: keep your mind active, too

It’s not all about your body, your mind needs a workout every day to stay in tip top shape, too. Activities that make you problem solve, think differently or learn something new keep your brain ticking over, especially when you’re not able to go out and stimulate your mind like you normally would.

If you’re sick of crossword puzzles and sudoku games, you can find heaps of ideas to give your brain a workout on the Your Mental Wellbeing website.

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Last updated: 14 May 2020