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We’ve had an amazing summer of sport with Wimbledon, Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics as great inspirations to get active. However, fitness can be hard to fit in, especially when you are a carer and time is precious.

Whatever might stopping you, it important to make getting active an important priority for your own wellbeing as a carer. Physical activity releases endorphins, and is proven to lift our spirits and help reduce stress. This blog looks at how you can find a way to making getting active work for you.

Use what inspired you about sports this summer

Maybe it was the team spirit that got you inspired this summer? If you like being a part of something bigger, you might enjoy team sports. You can be put off if you feel you are a beginner or that people expect certain things from you, but there are so many groups of different ages and abilities in any number of team sports. Wiltshire Council’s website is a good place to start when looking for a new club to join or local sports and leisure centres.

Find the activities that are right for you

Getting active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or going out running. It shouldn’t be something you dread. Instead, it can be an essential part of the tools you have for positive wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t have to be through big lifestyle changes, it might be through regular walks or simply keeping moving throughout the day.

Be guided by your own interests. If you’re curious about something, try it! You are much more likely to stick with something if it is something you want to do rather than feel you should.  If you are not sure whether you will like it, many activities offer taster sessions before you pay out for blocks of lessons. If you worried about going alone, why not ask a friend to go with you?

Make the most of what’s local to you

Getting active doesn’t have to take hours out of your day, or mean travelling – you can get active in your own house, garden and local parks. Especially in the summer your garden might be a place to try out some yoga, get green fingered or play some beach games.

Spend some time looking at what is around where you live. There are often green spaces that you might not have known about. It doesn’t have to be a park – even seeing a part of town you never usually go to can keep exercise interesting.

Exercise on a budget

It doesn’t even have to cost to get active. Below are some of the great options in Wiltshire that give you free or low cost ways to get active…

Wiltshire Health Improvement Coaches

A dedicated Health Improvement Coach can assist you every step of the way to achieving and maintaining your goals to improve your health and mental wellbeing. They can also help you find other services and activities. This service is for people aged 18 + and is free. Find out more on Wiltshire Council’s website.

Age UK ‘Fitness and Friendship’ groups

These clubs provide a great opportunity for older adults to socialise and stay active.  Each meeting includes gentle exercise to help maintain strength, balance and flexibility. Clubs have just started to reopen in Corsham, Devizes, Ludgershall, Melksham and Devizes and in September, Amesbury and Calne will re-open too.

Park Yoga

Park Yoga is a charity that provides free outdoor yoga sessions around the UK. They have sessions at many locations, including Devizes, Salisbury and Bath. The sessions run throughout the summer from May to September for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. All sessions are held on Sunday mornings. To book your place you can visit the Park Yoga website.

Park run

Park runs are free, weekly, community events taking place all around the world. These are 5k runs that take place on Saturday mornings, at many different local spaces so you can find one convenient to you. Find out more and book on the Park run website.

Outdoor groups and volunteering

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have been offering a series of 12-week programmes to engage participants with meaningful outdoor activities such as nature conservation, wildlife walks and nature-based crafts.

The next programme will be in Salisbury, starting in September 2021. The programme is open to adults (over 18s) who live in Wiltshire.

If getting active through doing some sort of physical outdoor work appeals to you, it’s worth getting in touch with your parish council to see if there are opportunities to volunteer. Groups such as Wiltshire Ramblers regularly meet to clear overgrown paths of vegetation and to help maintain waymarks and signs on public rights of way. Not only is this sort of work good physical activity, but it’s an opportunity to meet new people and make a difference in your community too.

Fitting activities in with caring

Finding the time to get active with caring might mean doing sessions at home or getting active with your cared for. COVID-19 has changed things and remember that many classes still offer the option of online sessions, so you can still have a social element to your exercise. If it’s just finding the time, the NHS has 10 minute workout videos that are easy to fit into your day.

Activities for kids

If you’re looking for ways to get children active (and you can join in too), The NHS has teamed up with Disney to create ’10 minute shake-up games’ for kids, based around Frozen, Marvel and Toy Story. There’s a pack to order that gives them some additional activities to do too.

Actually doing it

Sometimes bad habits can get in the way, or we can feel so tired that exercise is the last thing we want to do. Remember though, regular exercise will make you feel less tired in the long run, so you’ll have more energy! Even a single 15-minute walk can give you an energy boost, and the benefits increase with more frequent physical activity.

However, if you’re unable to exercise for a few days, or even weeks, don’t be hard on yourself or feel like you’ve failed. Just start back up when you can. Every new day is an opportunity to start again.

If you’re finding it hard to have the time and energy to look after your own wellbeing through activities like physical exercise, we can help. Our friendly Carer Advisers are at the end of the phone to give you information and advice and can signpost you to organisations that may be of interest to you. Call us on 0800 181 4118.