You don't have to go to a gym to be active. There are some great ways to be active in everyday life.
Everyday movement exercises
Here are some ideas for things to do inside your home. Try these if you want to build some extra movement into every day. Remember: only do activities that are safe for you. If you're not sure, ask your therapist or GP for advice.
On a bed:
- Roll your knees from side to side.
- Bend and straighten your legs in front of you.
- Sit up and stretch, with wide arms to open your chest and shoulders.
In a chair:
- March your feet. You can do this while watching TV or reading.
- Do a seated gardening activity like planting a seed tray, making a hanging basket or weeding a raised bed.
- Sit to stand: start looking straight ahead with feet slightly apart. Stand up slowly, then sit down slowly. Try it in a break between TV programmes.
- Single leg lift: lift one leg, keeping it straight. Lower it slowly. Repeat with the other leg.
- March on the spot.
- Knee lift: bend your leg, raise the knee up in front of you. Lower it slowly. Repeat on the other leg. Stand next to a chair and hold on to it for balance if you need to. You can also do this seated.
- Wall 'press-up': stand a small step away from the wall. Put your hands flat against the wall at shoulder height, and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lean towards the wall, keeping feet flat on the ground. Use your arms to push back gently to standing.
Try new activities
These activities aim to make your heart beat faster and make you feel warmer. If you do something more energetic or for longer you might feel a little out of breath but still be able to speak.
You don't have to carry on for a long time. A ten-minute burst of activity several times a day can have the same benefit as a longer session.
- Try timing yourself doing the vacuuming, and try to beat your time another day. Put some music on while you're dusting to get you moving around the room.
- Gardening tasks like weeding, digging and planting can build strength, and improve skills using hands and fingers.
- If you can walk outdoors, it's a great way to get moving. You can build up the distance at your own pace and it's something you can do with a friend. You can add walking into your day by getting off the bus early, or walking to the shops instead of driving.
- Climbing up stairs is a great way of getting your heart working, as well as strengthening muscles. When you are out, try taking the stairs instead of a lift. Or try going up and down stairs in your home.
...when I exercise, I do have more energy.James, stroke survivor
- If you want to push yourself a bit more, you can try to fit another activity into your day. You can do an activity for longer, or try doing it more quickly.
- Follow a weekly programme, like this one from the Stroke Association and A Stroke of Luck.
- Try using a fitness tracker on a watch or phone. They can measure the steps you take as well as your heart rate and sleep. Tracking your own activity levels can help you see the progress you are making.