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New safe exercising website for older Australians

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New safe exercising website for older Australians

​Western Health physiotherapists have joined forces with clinicians and researchers from across the country to develop a website that will help older Australians stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new website – Safe Exercise At Home – shares simple functional exercises and ideas for older people to increase activity levels at home.

Western Health’s Dr Cathy Said, who is also an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne, said it’s vital for people who were physically active before the restrictions to try to replicate that level of activity while staying home.

“Under current circumstances, older people are missing out on their weekly round of golf, bowls or exercise classes, which over a sustained period of time could be really detrimental,” Dr Said said.

“Even if you weren’t doing a regular exercise program before the restrictions, you are likely to be less physically active as you will be missing a lot of incidental exercise. This could be a great time to start a regular exercise program.”

Tips include having someone or a phone nearby when exercising, listening to your body and the importance of following up on pain or discomfort, and resuming activity and exercise more slowly after minor illness like colds.

The website, accessible via desktop or mobile, provides information and instructional videos at three different levels of function and fitness, as well as tips on staying motivated and safe while exercising at home.

The Safe Exercise at Home website was developed by physiotherapists from across Australia with clinical and academic expertise. The collaboration includes Western Health, the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Monash University, Curtin University, University of South Australia, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, the National Ageing Research Institute, Sydney Local Health District and Peninsula Health. The website is endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Australian guidelines recommend all older people be active every day, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.