Walking, dancing, gardening and drinks trolleys: how we keep active around the home

9 April 2021

Female with a learning disability skipping in the garden

Walking challenges, dancing, gardening and drinks trolleys are just some of the ways that our residents stay active.

Everyone needs physical activity for good health. Fitness and exercise have many benefits including increasing our mobility, boosting our mood and improving our wellbeing.

The guidelines recommend that all adults get at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity per week.

Whatever your age, there’s strong evidence that being physically active can help you to lead a healthier and happier life. And fitness brings many benefits to both physical and mental health and wellbeing.

At Exemplar Health Care, we have a lot of fun keeping fit and active! Our trained Care Teams, supported by our Life Skills Teams, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, support people to keep fit and active every day, and tailor activities to suit everyone’s ability levels.

In this blog, we take inspiration from residents across our 32 care homes, and share five easy ways that you can stay active, including:

  • setting yourself a challenge or goal
  • dancing to stay fit
  • getting outside
  • counting your steps
  • active living.

Set yourself a challenge or goal

A challenge or goal is a great way to motivate yourself to get more active. And, at the end, it’s rewarding to see your progress and see that your training has paid off!

A challenge or goal doesn’t need to be anything big – it depends on your current level of fitness and mobility.

For Remembrance Day, Stephen, who lives at our Havenmere care home in Immingham, set himself the goal of walking 11 miles in 11 days, for the British Legion’s 11/11 challenge. And each day, he felt like walking further – achieving more than double his original goal!

“I feel really good, and very proud,” said Stephen. Although, he added, ‘“my legs ache a bit.”

Back in June, Adam, a resident at our Greenside Court home in Rotherham, completed a personal challenge of 20 stands from a seating position to raise money for the NHS.

Following weeks of training, Adam achieved 20 stands from a seating position with a device that helps him stand, the Sara Stedy Stand Aid. What a great way to stay active!

Dance to stay fit

Dancing is a great way to stay in shape – it’s a full body workout and you’ll enjoy yourself so much that you’ll forget you’re exercising!

Dancing also releases those feel-good endorphins into your bloodstream, guaranteeing that you’ll leave the dance floor feeling more uplifted and energetic.

Residents at our Havenmere care home in Immingham enjoy nothing more than getting the karaoke machine out and dancing along to their favourite songs.

What a fun way to keep fit!

Get outside

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening qualifies as exercise. In fact, getting out in the yard for just 30-45 minutes can burn up to 300 calories.

As well as being great for your mental health, gardening improves your endurance, strength, mobility and flexibility.

Ian lives at our Kavanagh Place home in Liverpool, and as a retired full-time gardener, has been keeping fit and active tending to the gardens at the home.

“Gardening makes me feel relaxed and happy,” says Ian.

The Activities Team at the home have also seen the benefits of keeping active outdoors. "When Ian’s out in the garden, he's very content,” says Scott Davis, an Activities Coordinator at Kavanagh Place. “It definitely lifts his mood.”

Count your steps

We’ve all heard of the 10,000 daily step challenge! And whilst 10,000 may seem out of reach for some, increasing the number of steps that you do is a great way to keep active.

You’ll be surprised how quickly your steps get done when you’re completing everyday tasks such as housework, walking up the stairs and shopping.

Craig lives at our Copperfields care home in Leeds, and does a daily tuck shop trolley around the home.

Alongside an individualised physiotherapy programme, doing the trolley has helped Craig to improve his mobility – and get his daily steps in!

Since moving to the home, Craig has progressed from using a wheelchair to being able to walk around the home unaided.

Active living around the home

‘Active living’ means spending less time sitting down each day and more time moving.

Short bursts of activity throughout the day, such as hoovering, dusting, cooking and doing laundry, can help you to stretch your muscles and keep you flexible.

Ken, who lives at our Yarningdale care home in Ripley, enjoys weekly cooking sessions with the Therapy Team at the home.

Chopping foods, stirring ingredients, bending to open the oven and washing up, are great ways to build strength, balance and coordination … and you get a healthy and delicious meal at the end of it!