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Venturing out after lockdown?

Venturing out after lockdown?

Posted: July 2020

As the restrictions on our freedom are relaxed and we begin to get out and about, we need remember that fitness levels may not be what they were pre-lockdown.

We all know that muscles get weak without use, but what about your balance or your stamina? For the older among us, who may have been shielding or just avoiding going out, it’s highly likely that general fitness levels will have dropped. And with that comes an increased risk of falls.

Here are a few tips from Caroline Southgate, physiotherapist and owner of the Doris Jones home care agency in Westcliff.

Firstly, if you are planning to visit an older member of the family who has not been outside for several weeks, before you visit have a think about how they might manage the obstacles to get through the back door or down the alley to the back garden. 

  • Can they get their good outdoor shoes on? Sloppy soft slippers in a garden can catch and cause a fall. 
  • You might think about wearing a mask to make sure you can get close enough to offer an arm to support them in these first few steps.
  • Once outside be aware of the rough surfaces and move any lose object lying around ready to trip them up. 
  • Stamina may be very low, so although it’s definitely time to start taking a walk around the garden make sure there is a seat available to rest and recover.

If you haven’t been able to leave the house in lockdown, remember:

  • Feeling breathless from lack of exercise can be alarming, as can aches and pain in under used joints and muscles. Take your time and listen to your body. Remember to take a couple of deep breaths and allow your breathing to recover before you push on. 
  • “Use it or lose it” has been applied by physios to muscle strength and balance – it will take time to rebuild both and you need to start somewhere but do so safely! 
  • Don’t overdo it on the first outings or you will feel demoralised. Building confidence is so important, one visit and one cup of tea outside is lovely but it should be a start to a new level of exercise. 
  • Try exercises daily inside while you are still shielding and try to make them a habit.

Caroline and the Doris Jones team provide a range of home care services to the frail and elderly, including physiotherapy and gentle exercise to aid mobility and a maintain a sense of independence. If you’d like to talk to them, call the office on 01702 472954 or visit