Staying Mentally & Physically Active at home

08 April, 2020

With the Coronavirus forcing us to self-isolate, we thought we’d put together some links, hints and tips to help keep you physically and mentally active at home.

The sudden adjustments we have all had to make has impacted our daily lives in many ways. It’s certainly much more difficult to be as mobile as we were. It’s therefore crucial to keep physically active and avoid the pitfalls of dropping into a sedentary lifestyle.

Colostomy UK’s very own ‘Sport and fitness after stoma surgery’ booklet includes a series of exercises that encourage core strength and can be repeated daily. Each of them works deeply, increasing the strength of your back and stomach muscles, helping to reduce back and posture problems as well as the risk of post–operative hernias. They can be performed on the bed, lying on a thick mat so that your spine is gently cushioned, or sitting on a chair. Some can even be done while you are watching the television!

You can download your free copy online www.colostomyuk.org/active-ostomates/

Exercising at home. Guidance from the NHS

The NHS website has some great exercises that you can try safely in your home too. Just go to www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/easy-low-impact-exercises/ and scroll down the page to the section called ‘Home Exercises’. There are a range of activities that have been split in to four sections: Sitting, Balance, Flexibility, and Strength.

If you’re able to, it might be a good idea to try a different group of exercises each day so the exercises don’t get too repetitive.

‘Ten minute workouts’ are a great option for those of you with limited spare time. There are six workouts, one for every day of the week if you include a rest day, and they all work on a different area of your fitness https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-workouts/

 Other useful links

‘This Girl Can’ is a Sport England campaign to encourage more women and girls to be active. They’ve put together a series of exercises aimed at women that can be done at home. https://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/activities/home-exercise/

 If skipping is your thing there’s a great fifteen minute work out to be found at https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/the-best-15-minute-jump-rope-workout/


At the time of going to print, it was still permissible for symptom-free people to take outdoor exercise once a day (provided they were not in the vulnerable grouping and provided no-one in their household had COVID-19 or was displaying the symptoms of it). Walking is an excellent way to maintain your health and wellbeing. But please check the government’s latest Coronavirus advice before you go, in case this has changed. Walkers must also stay more than two metres from others.  Please see Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. It’s sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise but brisk walking can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.

You don’t have to walk for hours either. A brisk 10 minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended thirty minutes a day of exercise.

If you’re not very active but are able to walk then start slowly and think about increasing your distance gradually.

You can also get more information on walking from the NHS ACTIVE 10 website https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/active10/home

Your stoma should not prevent you from exercising or being as physically active as you were before your operation. Remember, even light exercise is good for your heart, joints, muscles, lungs, and your general sense of well-being.

Remember to talk to your doctor or stoma care nurse before starting any exercise program, especially if you were not active before your operation or have other medical conditions.

Green fingers

Many of us also have a great tool to improve both our physical and mental well-being right on our doorsteps and might not even realise it… Gardening is a source of relaxation, comfort and enjoyment for millions of people around the UK, and can be hugely beneficial to our health.

Get digging! It needn’t be about heavy digging, but gardening does put you through a range of movements. Exercise can energise, but the activity can also distract you from unwanted or negative thoughts.

Take notice. Gardens are full of interesting detail: plants, pests, colour, texture, scent and sound. Gardening can also foster mindfulness: an awareness of oneself and being in the moment. Set yourself a specific target for your garden, the sense of achievement when you complete it can give you a real boost.

Learn something new. If gardening is all very alien to you why not visit the Royal Horticultural Society website at https://www.rhs.org.uk/ for some great tips to get you started. Learning and trying new things is a great way to stimulate your mind.

Ten tips to keep your mind active

It’s also really important to try and keep your mind active as well. Here are our ten tips that will give your brain a workout and get your creative juices flowing!

  • Enjoy a daily puzzle or the crossword.
  • Opt for mental arithmetic rather than use the calculator.
  • Read more.
  • Play mind-stretching games like bingo, bridge, chess or computer games.
  • Start an online course.
  • Bake a cake and get creative in the kitchen.
  • Try writing. It could be a daily diary, your memoirs, or a short story.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family. Remember to pick up the phone.
  • Have a clear out or spring clean.
  • Listen to podcasts or audio books.

Your mental health

We all have days when we feel life is getting on top of us. The ‘every mind matters’ website from the NHS is a great starting point to find support and guidance to look after your mental health https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/


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