Physical Activity during cocooning

Physical Activity is essential for those 70+ years of age who are now restricted from leaving their home due to cocooning. This practice has been shown to decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Physical Activity during cocooning is important. People should stay as active as possible during this time, but common sense must prevail.

Usually, the IOS would always recommend that anyone with bone loss is assessed by a Chartered Physiotherapist, with experience of treating people with the condition. However, due to the current situation, IOS now offers a guide to exercising at home.

Adults need to do 30 minutes of appropriate daily weight-bearing exercise. Once you can do 30 minutes, then build up slowly from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Due to cocooning, everyone is walking less, as even the short walks to get into your car is no longer happening.

One of the critical goals of the IOS during this pandemic is to help those with bone loss prevent fractures and to remind you to continue to take your Osteoporosis treatment. By developing physical activity habits during this time, we hope you will maintain them once we are all back to normal living.

For those who regularly find themselves getting short of breath because they are unfit or because of a medical issue, you should double-check with your GP, which of the activities listed below, they would consider appropriate for you to do. Contact your GP’s office with the list of exercises right beside you with a pen, so you can check off which activities you can do. Keeping a note will ensure you do not keep your GP on the phone any longer than necessary.

If you have a Chartered Physiotherapist, you usually go to or have seen in the past, contact them directly. Many of them are carrying out consultations over the phone or on WhatsApp etc.

NOTE: Those with bone loss should never do stretches or exercise’s that have you bending forwards, reaching to touch your toes (sitting or standing), as this can cause bones in your back to break (fracture).

If you have poor balance or are apprehensive of losing your balance, start with the seated exercises. Only progress to the standing exercises if you feel safe to do them, possibly begin them with a chair directly behind you, so that if you feel tired, you can sit down for a rest. Please do not attempt any exercise that you do not think you can realistically do, or you are afraid of losing your balance or injuring yourself.

It will depend on your physical ability what exercises you can do and for how long. It is much safer to start slowly and gradually increase the amount you are doing, so there is less risk of you injuring yourself. Remember the goal of the Irish Osteoporosis Society Charity is to keep you independent and out of the hospital.

For those of you who find exercise dull, you could play the radio, music or TV in the background.

Please click HERE FOR SOME SHORT EXERCISE VIDEOS  FROM Chartered Physiotherapist, Aoife Ni Eochaidh.

Please click HERE for more information about cocooning from the HSE.

Physical Activity during cocooning

 


IOS Exercise Check Off Sheet

If you are not used to exercising, start with just one arm and one leg exercise and add one additional activity every second day, as tolerated. This way if you are sore, you will know which exercise was the cause. 

The most crucial point to remember is that everyone has different limits on what they can do. Please take your time and stop if any of these exercises cause pain. The goal is to improve and/or maintain your strength while you are cocooning, not to injure yourself. If you are not used to doing any exercise, it is essential to start slowly and gradually build up the number of repetitions. Please ensure to wear the correct footwear, such as a walking shoe or runners. No one should wear open-back shoes. Most slippers have very little support and are a tripping hazard.

Seated exercises: Everyone needs to count out loud with these exercises, the reason this is important, is because people tend to hold their breath, which cuts off the oxygen to the brain, which none of us needs to happen!

1st Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 1 Physical Exercise

Sitting in a chair with back support on it

Start to tap your feet on the floor, one foot, followed by the other foot.

Repeat this for 10 seconds, rest for 60 seconds, then repeat it three times.

The goal is to build up slowly tapping your feet for 30 seconds, by three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

 

2nd Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 2 Physical Exercise

Sitting in a chair with back support on it

Your feet are on the ground.

Lift your right knee up slowly, several inches, then bring it back down slowly.

Lift your left knee up slowly, several inches, then bring it back down slowly.

Repeat ten times, but if you can only do three of them initially, this is fine, you slowly increase the number you can do until you can complete 10.

You then set a goal of being able to do two sets of 10, building up to three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

Your new goal would then be to build up to holding your knee up in the air for 5 seconds, then slowly bring each leg back down.

Your new goal would then be to do three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

 

3rd Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 3 Physical Exercise

Sitting in a chair with back support on it

Place your arm down by your side, with your thumb pointing up to the ceiling.

Slowly raise your right arm towards the ceiling, making sure you are not leaning back in the chair to bring it higher. You want to sit upright and only bring your arm as far as you can without it causing pain, then slowly bring it back down.

Repeat 10 times, but if you can only do three of them initially this is fine, you slowly build up until you can do 10.

You then lift your left arm up, repeat 10 times but if you can only do three of them initially, this is fine. You slowly build up until you can do 10.

By alternating your arms, you are giving your muscles rest in between exercises.

You then set a goal of being able to do two sets of 10, building up to three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times on each arm.

Once you can do three sets of 10, then add a 1-pound weight if you have one. Otherwise use a small bottle of water or an object that will not hurt or cut you if you happen to drop it. Some people could try a can of beans etc.  It all depends on how strong or weak your muscles are. Just remember if a filled can lands on your toe/s this would be painful!

You then set a goal of being able to do three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

 

4th Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 4 Physical Exercise

Sitting in a chair with back support on it

Your feet are on the ground.

Lift one leg at a time, straight up slowly (your toes pointing towards the ceiling), so that your knee is no longer bent, and your leg is straight or lift it as far as you can.

Bring it back down to the floor slowly.

Repeat 10 times on one leg, then on the other leg but if you can only do three of them initially this is fine, you slowly build up to being able to do 10.

You then set a goal of being able to do two sets of 10, building up to 3 sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

Your new goal would then be to build up to holding your leg straight for 5 seconds, then slowly bring your leg back down.

 

5th Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 5 Physical Exercise

Sitting in a chair with back support on it

Place your arms down by your side with your palms facing the ceiling

Bring your hands up slowly (bending at your elbows) towards your shoulders, then bring them back down slowly.

Repeat 10 times

You then set a goal of being able to do two sets of 10, building up to three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

Once you can do three sets of 10, then add a 1-pound weight if you have one. Otherwise use a small bottle of water or an object that will not hurt or cut you if you happen to drop it. Some people could try a can of beans etc.  It all depends on how strong or weak your muscles are. Just remember if a filled can lands on your toe/s this would be painful!

 

6th Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 6 Physical Exercise

Sitting in a chair with back support on it with armrests.

If you have balance issues, or a back problem, please initially use the armrests to help push up gently from the chair, the goal is to use your leg muscles as much as possible.  As you get stronger and when you think you are ready, you can then try to get up from the chair without the armrests.

Stand up from the chair slowly and then sit back down slowly.

Start with three times and slowly increase this to 10 times in a row. It may take you a week or it may take you three weeks to build up this level of fitness. Make sure to go at a safe pace.

You then set a goal of being able to do two sets of 10, building up to three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

 

7th Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 7 Physical Exercise

Sitting in a chair with back support on it

Place your arms down by your side with your palms facing towards the floor

Bring your hands up slowly (bending at your elbows) towards your shoulders, then bring them back down slowly.

Repeat 10 times

You then set a goal of being able to do three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

Once you can do three sets of 10, then add a 1-pound weight if you have one. Otherwise use a small bottle of water or an object that will not hurt or cut you if you happen to drop it. Some people could try a can of beans etc.  It all depends on how strong or weak your muscles are. Just remember if a filled can lands on your toe/s this would be painful!

You then set a goal of being able to do two sets of 10, building up to 3 sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

 

8th Exercise Marching on the spot Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 8 Physical Exercise

Either count out loud to keep track, or you can go by how many seconds or minutes you can do.

Place a sturdy chair behind you and then holding onto the back of a sturdy counter or chair, you begin to march by lifting your feet one at a time, approximately one inch off the floor 10 times. If you experience a loss of balance or near loss of balance, you are not ready to do this exercise yet.

You then set a goal of being able to do three sets of 10, so the total is 30 times.

If you have not lost your balance, you can then start to lift your feet several inches off the floor.

You then set a goal of 5 minutes of Marching and increasing this goal once you achieve it, to 10 minutes.

Once this has been achieved you could march throughout your home with your favourite music on, singing to it, even if you cannot hold a tune, as no one can hear you, you could pretend you are in a Dad’s Army film!

 

9th Exercise Stair climbing Exercise – Remember do not hold your breathExercise 9 Physical Exercise

If you can walk up and down your stairs without difficulty, doing this once is equivalent to one minute of weight-bearing exercise. Please ensure to hold the handrail while carrying out this exercise.

Place some paper and a pen at the bottom of your stairs.  Each time you come down the stairs, place a checkmark. This way by the time you go to bed, you will see how many times you were able to do this activity and then can set a goal to increase the number of times by one, every three days. You will know when you reach your maximum. Hopefully, by getting into the habit of this activity, you can keep it up when life gets back to normal.

Walking up and down a flight of stairs helps to build up bone in your hips, it also helps to build up strength in your main muscles for walking, and it is excellent for your overall health.   

For those who do not have an issue with incontinence, by going upstairs to use the bathroom, instead of your downstairs bathroom, you can help to build up your strength, endurance and bone in your hips.

For any of you who do have an issue with incontinence of bladder or bowel, contact us right away as there have been huge advances in this area and help is possible even during this cocooning period.

10th   Exercise WalkingExercise 10 Physical Exercise

If you are fortunate enough to have a garden where you can go out walking, take advantage of this. Always ensure to put your mobile in a pocket and bring it with you throughout your home or garden, unless you have a life alert pendant that you wear.

Walk up the inside of your garden path, then walk back down the outside of the path. If you are fortunate that you have a large area in your garden that you can walk around, and you are steady on your feet, walk for 4 minutes at your regular speed, (example a 5 out of 10 pace), then walk for one minute at a six out of 10. The reason being that your bones benefit more when you slightly adjust the speed you are walking. Improving your speed should only be done if you have good balance.

Dancing

If you have an excellent balance and enjoy dancing turn some music on and start to dance. Be careful to make sure there are no tripping hazards. Dancing is one of the best forms of exercise for weight-bearing for bone health.

IOS Exercise Check Off Sheet

 

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