Date: 11 January 2021 Author: Energise Me
Throughout the first lockdown, Eleanor* knew she needed to find a way to keep herself moving and add structure to her days. She decided to find activity in the everyday tasks she loved doing normally.
Whilst I was self-isolating, it was important for me to maintain some form of structure to my day. I wanted to incorporate exercise into those things I loved to do. It didn’t take long for me to realise that the day could become long and hard to manage if I did not structure it well.
I am a married lady of 68 years of age and suffered a heart attack three years ago. This has left me with damage to the right side of my heart. I am restricted to feeling tired after about five hours on my feet.
Making housework fun is a great way to help to keep me active and not just sitting down for long periods of time.
My love in life is maintaining the house I bought, doing housework, gardening and reading. Taking all this into account, this is how I decided to structure my days and weeks.
Firstly, I am quite house-proud, but this also enabled my husband and me to have quality time together at the weekends relaxing (as he was still working). I broke the housework down to doing a room a day, cleaning, wiping and polishing throughout the week.
To incorporate exercise I made sure I was either listening to the radio or to some music that inspired me to give the housework that little bit extra. This got me hoovering with a swing and polishing with extra vigour. I also did general wiping or dusting by bending over slowly to ensure my muscles were feeling stretched.
Each room had different benefits in the type of exercise. Throughout the work in each room, this included bending movement which I felt strengthening my legs and back. Making housework fun is a great way to help to keep me active. It means I’m not just sitting down for long periods of time. It inspired me both mentally and physically to keep active and to manage the self-isolating.
Gardening was another love. In the first lockdown, I spent many hours planning firstly how to proceed with the work that needed doing. I was also fortunate that during the first lockdown, we had amazing weather that made it that much easier to be outside. Again, structure was important. So, I like making lists to ensure I have covered all that needs to be done.
My garden is about 50 metres long and I do not use chemicals or pesticides at all so there is a lot of work involved in maintaining the garden. Moving necessary tools, walking around and carrying equipment is all good exercise for the legs and arms. I focused on my breathing to see if this made me out of breath.
The greenhouse is handy to work on if it is raining or after the garden has been prepared, though every keen gardener knows there is always something to do!
I do have to be careful in how I move bags of soil or grit and stones, again this a form of exercise. It’s like lifting weights or dumbbells. I ensure I am only lifting the weight I can manage and not above my shoulder height.
I also jet wash the paving and concrete areas in each corner as I work around the garden. This is again refreshing and good for the breathing exercises, as it can become quite strenuous. This is all something that will take several months and there is no rush to achieve it, but incorporating the thought of activity into the mind gives that overall wellbeing feeling.
I have in total a matter of 80 odd pots in the garden and a greenhouse that I grow and keep Cacti in. The greenhouse is handy to work on if it is raining or after the garden has been prepared. Though every keen gardener knows there is always something to do! We also have a fishpond which my husband mainly maintains, but one of the therapies of having that during the lockdown is the tranquillity if one sits by and listens to the water, and the wildlife. This is very relaxing and soothing for the mind.
It's helped my mental well-being, though there were times when I did feel down, but turned the corner and picked myself up and onwards to the list.
All I have described is what helped me through the lockdown and continues to do so as we move through the seasons and lockdown periods. It also gave me light exercise to keep me active. It helped my mental well-being, though there were times when I did feel down, but turned the corner and picked myself up and onwards to the list.
*Name changed for anonymity.
It’s not just everyday tasks you can find activity in. There are lots of ways to add an active twist to the things you love. From photography and cooking to family time and watching TV. Check out our ‘Getting creative with activity’ blog for more tips on finding activity in everyday tasks.