It’s nice to be ahead of the curve sometimes. For the past couple of years, Ceartas has been working with Andy Lynch of the East Dunbartonshire W.A.L.K. project to promote the benefits of exercise to our service users, and point to out the health hazards associated with inactivity.
We now have Health Walks associated with our De Cafés, and the wheelchair-accessible Walk ‘n’ Roll (on the first Thursday of the month at 3pm, from the back door of the Kirkie Baptist Church) that many of our ABI Café participants attend. Offering people a chance to increase their activity levels and fitness is now becoming part of what Ceartas does.
Today, a story on the BBC News is talking about the benefits of exercise, and how more needs to be done to overcome the barriers that older people perceive which stop them from taking more outdoor exercise:
The James Hutton Institute carried out research for the Scottish government. It found less than 50% of over-60s and 40% of over-75s participated in outdoor pursuits one or more times a week. It said GPs and medical professionals could help by giving out so-called “green prescriptions” – encouraging older people do more outdoor exercise.
The report, entitled Access to outdoor recreation by older people in Scotland, looked in particular at what discourages this group of people from getting outside more often. It also outlined measures aimed at removing or reducing those barriers.
Some participants in the research reported safety concerns or a lack of companionship as reasons why they were reluctant to participate in outdoor activities. Others lacked self-motivation or said they were too busy.
Current governement guidance suggests that you should engage in moderate exercise, where you are not becoming so breathless that you cannot talk, for 150 minutes per week. That may sound like a lot, but walking briskly for twenty minutes every day will provide the vast majority of that 150 minutes.
However, as the research confirms, many older people and people with long-term conditions feel that they cannot undertake that level of activity, or they see barriers like the weather or their own safety that stop them from getting out and about.
There are a wide range of options for older people, people with long-term conditions or disabilities in East Dunbartonshire to increase their exercise and their level of fitness. Working with EDLC, the Live Active and Vitality programmes and the W.A.L.K. project, Ceartas can help people to find a way exercise and improve their health and fitness that is both safe and enjoyable.