We are having an amazing summer of sport with Wimbledon, Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics as great inspirations to get active. However, fitness can be hard to fit in, especially when you are a carer and time is precious.
Whatever might stopping you, it important to make getting active an important priority for your own wellbeing as a carer. Physical activity releases endorphins, and is proven to lift our spirits and help reduce stress. This blog looks at how you can find a way to making getting active work for you.
Using what inspired you about sports this summer
Maybe it was the team spirit that got you inspired this summer? If you like being a part of something bigger, you might enjoy team sports. You can be put off if you feel you are a beginner or that people expect certain things from you, but there are so many groups of different ages and abilities in any number of team sports. The Active Dorset directory is a great place to start when looking for a new club to join.
Find the activities that are right for you
Getting active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or going out running. It doesn’t have to be something you dread either. Instead, it can be an essential part of the tools you have for positive wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t have to be through big lifestyle changes, it might be through walking or simply keeping moving throughout the day.
Be guided by your own interests, if you’re curious about something, try it! You are much more likely to stick with something if it is something you want to do rather than feel you should. If you are not sure whether you will like it, many activities offer taster sessions before you pay out for blocks of lessons. If you worried about going alone, why not ask a friend to go with you?
Make the most of local spots
Getting active doesn’t have to take hours out of your day, or mean travelling, you can get active in your own house, garden and local parks. Especially in the summer your garden might be a place to try out some yoga, get green fingered or play some beach games.
Spend some time looking at what is around where you live, there is often green spaces that you might not have realised. It doesn’t have to be a park, even seeing a part of town you never usually go to can keep exercise interesting.
Exercise on a budget
It doesn’t even have to cost to get active. Below are some of the great organisations working in Dorset to give you free or low cost ways to get active…
Dorset Council Health Walks and Cycling
Offers walks and cycling led by trained volunteer leaders at two levels of ability. They start at a range of locations across East Dorset. If you do not have a bike, you can also hire a bike for a small cost. These can both be booked on their website.
Dorset Mental Health Forum
They offer a range of activities every month from football, gardening, badminton and much more to help you with your wellbeing. You can see their up-to-date timetable and contact them on their website.
Park Yoga is a charity that provides free outdoor yoga sessions around the UK, they have different sessions across Dorset such as Moors Valley Country Park near Ferndown and Lodmoor Country Park in Weymouth The sessions run throughout the summer from May to September for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. All sessions are held on Sunday mornings. To book your place you can visit the Park Yoga website.
Park runs are free, weekly, community events all around the world. These are 5k runs that take place on Saturday mornings, at countless different local spaces so you can find one convenient to you. Find out more and book on the Park run website.
Parks in Mind
Parks in Mind provides fun nature conservation and other outdoor activities to help improves your health and wellbeing. They provide a relaxed and friendly atmosphere while taking part in practical and sociable outdoor activities such as yoga, walking, Tai Chi Qi Gong and wood carving. Find the sessions that interest you on their website.
Fitting activities in with caring
Finding the time to get active with caring might mean doing sessions at home or getting active with your cared for. COVID-19 has changed things and remember many classes still offer the option of online sessions so you can still have a social element to your exercise. If it’s just finding the time, the NHS has a 10 minute workout video that is easy to fit into your day.
If you want some ideas for places to go to get active with your cared for, read our blog on 10 days out in Dorset that offer carers discounts with the carers card to see affordable and accessible places to visit.
If you want a group setting you feel comfortable taking your cared for, Stepping into Nature offers free gentle walks which are suitable for people with dementia. Sessions are taking place throughout the summer at a variety of different places. Find the sessions for you on their website.
Actually doing it
Sometimes bad habits can get in the way, or we can feel so tired that exercise is the last thing we want to do. Remember though, regular exercise will make you feel less tired in the long run, so you’ll have more energy! Even a single 15-minute walk can give you an energy boost, and the benefits increase with more frequent physical activity.
It can help to make a plan about what you want to achieve with getting active or when you want to do it. Live Well Dorset have a great ‘Habit Hacker’ for helping you think about what is most helpful to changing your habits to get exercising more.