Stay home and stay active

24 April 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council is supporting Brio Leisure and Active Cheshire to promote the benefits of staying active during the coronavirus pandemic. Data shows 4 in 5 adults are worried about the effect that coronavirus is having on their life right now, with over half saying it’s affected their wellbeing and nearly half reporting high levels of anxiety. Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel and it’s important to allocate time during the day to physical activity. 

Physical activity includes all forms of active recreation, cycling and walking, as well as activities you do around the home and garden. It doesn’t have to be exercise or sport - play, dance, gardening, and even house cleaning and carrying heavy shopping are all part of being physically active.

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Cllr Louise Gittins adds “Now more than ever, we all need to look after our physical and mental wellbeing.  During the coronavirus pandemic, when so many of us are very restricted in our movements, it is even more important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. 

“Even a short break from sitting, by doing 3-5 minutes of physical movement, such as walking or stretching, will help ease muscle strain, relieve mental tension and improve blood circulation and muscle activity. Regular physical activity can also help to give the day a routine and structure. 

“There are many online activities available to help and these are fun to do.  We are working with our key partners, Brio Leisure and Active Cheshire to promote the online workouts available and benefits of staying active.”

Physical activity can improve mental health. For example, it can help with:
  • better sleep - by making you feel more tired at the end of the day
  • happier moods - physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy
  • managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts – doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times
  • better self-esteem - being more active can make you feel better about yourself as you improve and meet your goals
  • reducing the risk of depression - studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression
Managing Director of Brio Leisure, Elly McFahn adds “It is natural for us to feel worried and anxious during these challenging times, but there are things we can do to help ourselves.  Both physical activity and healthy eating are key to maintaining good mental and physical wellbeing. 

“Brio Leisure’s Facebook page has lots of workout videos for adults and children, including a meditation video to help relax the mind and Brio Bear even hosts some of our kid’s workouts.  Every week we share a timetable for adults to keep active as well as a second schedule for those with children that includes creative and fun activities to keep them entertained. In addition, the website also has informative blogs with tips on keeping active and well whilst at home. It was important to us that we supported our community from afar, so we have taken all available routes to ensuring there’s something available for everyone and best of all, it’s completely free.” Chief Executive of Active Cheshire, Anne Boyd said “It is so important that we look after our physical and mental health, therefore Active Cheshire has launched a campaign called #ActiveHour. 

“The aims is to encourage people to stay healthy and active during this period of isolation. Every day, between 1-2pm, upload a video of you getting active in your own way and share it on social media using the #ActiveHour. Remember to tag us in @ActiveCheshire so we can share your videos to inspire others. Why not make your own Active Hour hashtag? Make sure you tag us so we can share the great things you’re doing to keep active.”

Edsential are also providing the #EdsentialAtHome PE daily challenge. The aim is to encourage schools, parents, and pupils to get active and share any activities they are doing in school or at home. You can catch up on all the challenges so far, by visiting Edsential's YouTube channel.

While staying active, please continue to follow the Government guidance on daily exercise and social distancing. You can leave the house, alone, or with members of your household, for 1 form of exercise a day. We must all keep to the social distancing guidance, making sure you stay a safe 2-metre distance from others. Further supporting information can be found on Live Well Cheshire West.

Public Health England (PHE) has also published new online guidance on the Every Mind Matters website, including a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan and support for key mental wellbeing issues, such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. For more information, please visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website.

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