Northern Ireland’s Olympic gold medallist Lady Mary Peters has launched exercise videos for older people who risk serious health problems due to lockdown inactivity.
The elderly face increased muscle wastage through staying at home and research shows 40% are worried about the effects of the restrictions on their mental health and physical wellbeing, advocacy organisation Age NI said.
Octogenarian Lady Mary won the pentathlon at the Munich Games in 1972.
She said: “To me, movement is life; it’s so important as you get older to keep active.
“These exercises are nice and gentle, and trust me, they will help you to feel good during this difficult period of lockdown.
“Hopefully we can create a little virtual community of what I’m calling my ‘golden oldies’ all doing these daily workouts together.”
Move with Mary is a series of five exercise videos, to be released online this week, which caters for every level of capability, ranging from simple seated stretches, to balance, strength and gentle aerobic exercises suited to older people.
Linda Robinson, chief executive of Age NI, said: “The British Geriatrics Society has warned that ‘lockdown and social distancing measures have led to dangerously low levels of physical activity in older people, which, if not addressed as a matter of urgency, will prove to be detrimental to their physical and mental health’.
“Our real concern is that this is storing up the next health crisis for our older population.
“We need to do all we can to avoid further loss of independence or the need for additional medical treatment in the future.”
That is why the organisation wanted to do something to help older people to keep moving while at home.
Ms Robinson added: “With the success of Joe Wicks and his online school PE classes, we thought we could do something similar.
“With Move with Mary, we’re going to give Joe Wicks a run for his money.”