During the pandemic the normal exercise sessions that Generation Games deliver are naturally not taking place, meaning that many people are not getting their weekly “dose” of exercise to remain healthy. For people living with long-term health conditions the exercise that is most beneficial may be more specific and require a specially trained instructor, meaning that some popular online exercise options may not be suitable.
Age UK Oxfordshire is an independent local charity working within communities to support older people to stay independent and live life to the full. The charity’s physical activity service, Generation Games, was awarded a Covid grant by the Charities’ Aid foundation to create long term health-condition-specific exercise DVDs.
Generation Games’ mission is to combat physical inactivity and provide a variety of options that people enjoy. They are known for delivering specific physical activity sessions in the community, with a strong focus on Strength & balance (aimed at reducing the risk of falls) as well as Parkinson’s exercise sessions and classes for people with MS and lung conditions.
They have designed and commissioned 5 specialist 1 hour long home exercise DVDs for people with the following conditions:
• Lung conditions
• Cardiac conditions
• Balance concerns
10,000 copies (2,000 of each type) will be printed and distributed, in a pack that also contains other relevant information, to the people who are living with one of these conditions. The cardiac DVD, which is called Healthy Heart, will be distributed by the cardiac physiotherapy NHS team at the John Radcliffe; and the lung condition DVD, called Breathe Better will be distributed by the Respiratory Physiotherapy team.
Many older people living with a health condition were ‘shielded’ and have continued to self-isolate out of fear. This puts them at secondary risk from inactivity, isolation and loneliness, causing loss of mobility. 43% were unable to walk as far as before; 33% feel less steady on their feet and functional ability – 24% report being less independent – as well as suffering memory problems, anxiety and depression.
Age UK Oxfordshire said:
We hope that people will use these DVDs as a tool to ensure they are getting enough of the RIGHT exercise, designed by a trained instructor, every week – that will inspire people to keep active due to reduced access to the traditional support available.
Of course, inactivity and digital isolation is not the only barrier to optimum health. Oxfordshire has a large community of Chinese and Urdu speakers, many of whom have been unable to participate in online offers.
Generation Games is having the original, Generation Games At Home DVD translated (with subtitles and voiceover) into Chinese and Urdu. The new conditions-specific DVDs are supported by OUH foundation trust and Oxford Health, as well as Moving Medicine.
Sara Bolton, Associate Director of Allied Health Professionals and Lead Physiotherapist at Oxford Health said;
We are delighted to have partnered with AGE UK Oxfordshire to produce these DVDS, we all need to move more. These DVDS will support more people to undertake exercises that they can enjoy and get stronger, steadier as a result. Our physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nursing teams will help get the DVDs out to the citizens of Oxfordshire and DVDs available in other languages means reaching out to wider communities.
Penny Thewlis, CEO Age UK Oxfordshire said:
‘As we recover from two successive lockdowns, when too many of us haven’t been able to stay as physically active as we want – and need – to be, we are really excited at Age UK Oxfordshire to be launching these bespoke exercise packs, specifically designed to make it easier for people with a health condition to move more at home. We’re hoping lots of people will feel inspired to give them a try and we are hugely grateful to the Charities’ Aid Foundation for funding the packs.’
About Age UK Oxfordshire
Age UK Oxfordshire is an independent local charity dedicated to giving older people in Oxfordshire comfort, support and opportunities and enabling them to love later life. They provide free local information, advice and support. They work with our national partner, Age UK, and our local Age UK partners in England. You can find further information on all services and volunteering opportunities by telephoning 0345 450 1276 or by visiting the website: www.ageuk.org.uk/oxfordshire.