A new blog from health researchers at the University of Bath launches this week aiming to help those aged 60 and over to stay physically fit, even when they are isolated at home at this time.

The academics behind the blog series ‘Staying active in older age’ will post a weekly programme of activities that can help people stave off some of the negative effects of being sedentary for too long.

It draws on evidence the team has collected through the REACT project – a major study led by the universities of Bath and Birmingham involving almost 800 people aged 65 and over looking at how regular, gentle exercise sessions, including exercises at home, can benefit people in later life.

The authors suggest now is a particularly important time to start being more physically active and point to evidence that exercise can prevent the immune system from declining and protect against infections. They also highlight the risks isolation and inactivity pose, in particular in relation to losing muscle strength.

Trial manager for the REACT project and blog coordinator, Dr Janet Withall, explains: “We are living through very strange and difficult times. On a practical level, this means none of us can attend exercise classes anymore, or even just go out for a walk if we are in one of the vulnerable groups which need to completely self-isolate. However, we can still exercise at home and this is more important now than ever.

“Not only is it true that building exercise into our days can help us develop a routine and purpose with positive knock-on effects for our mental health, but it’s also really true that when it comes to muscle strength there’s a risk that if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. There’s a risk that if lockdown continues and people become increasingly inactive, then whenever measures are relaxed, they’ll have lost some of their mobility which will create new problems and challenges.

“Our hope with this new blog, and the resources which will accompany it, is to offer people aged 60 and over practical tips on becoming more active in this period in a way that is accessible, gentle and fun.”

  • Access the new blog via http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/react/.

  • The embedded video below offers a taster of the sorts of things our researchers have been involved with through the REACT project. This was filmed before current social isolation and lockdown measures came into force.