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Campaign launches to get pensioners moving in the West Midlands during Covid-19 lockdown

Coronavirus | Published:

Six-time Olympian Tessa Sanderson has stepped up to the mark to support a campaign to stop a looming health crisis for pensioners locked in isolation due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Tessa Sanderson is helping launch the campaign

The Olympian, who in 1984 won the gold medal in javelin for Great Britain, has today issued a challenge to those age over 60 to see how many sit-to-stands they can do in 30 seconds.

This exercise has been shown to increase lower body strength and reduce the risk of falls.

She has thrown her support behind a campaign called #StandUpForNHS launched by fitness training provider Move it or Lose it who specialise in exercise classes for the over 60s.

Move it or Lose it have this week issued a stark warning that another health crisis could hit the elderly within months, putting even more strain on the NHS, due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

They warned many of our elderly have been confined to their homes for months - resulting in increased sedentary behaviour, which can lead to significant reductions in health, and in particular loss of muscle mass and strength.

The campaign #StandUpForNHS with the support of Tessa Sanderson, is looking to halt this in its tracks by increasing activity and strength as well and bring the nation together to keep Britain moving during the pandemic.

Julie Robinson from Move it or Lose it

Tessa said: “I’m delighted to be an ambassador for Move it or Lose it supporting their #StandUpForNHS campaign. It’s so important to keep mobile at all ages, safely and to have some fun too. They’ve done some terrific work across the country and this becomes even more important at a time when so many people are staying at home.”

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The campaign has also been backed by University Hospital of Derby and Burton and the Centre for Healthy Ageing Research at University of Birmingham*.

One in seven over 70s currently have significant muscle loss, called sarcopenia, rising to ~50% in the over 80s costing the NHS £2.5 billion in care costs every year. The prevalence of sarcopenia and its associated costs will only rise following the Covid-19 pandemic, unless we act now to help our nation’s elders stay strong.

Founder Julie Robinson said: “This is a real and serious problem that our society faces and we need people to act now and get moving indoors, so another catastrophic crisis for the elderly can be avoided in the future. Research has shown that just a 10 day stay in hospital for the over 70s equates to 10 years in muscle loss - and this will most certainly be mirrored by people staying indoors and not keeping themselves active, so it’s time for everyone to take action, now, rather than regret it later and place even more pressure on our precious NHS.”

Founder Julie Robinson has warned of a looming NHS crisis if the elderly don’t take action now.

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WATCH: Julie explains more about Move it or Lose it

Move it or Lose it

“This challenge brings everyone together with a common purpose, knowing that their action will improve their own long-term health and will also benefit others too. All they have to do is take 30 seconds out of their day to see how many sit to stands they can do, and then log it with us so we can help keep them motivated during this time,” Julie added.

Results, with a running total and stand up count, will be available online alongside free videos showing how to do the challenge safely and exercises to help people to improve their scores.

“It’s such a simple way to stay strong and everyone can take part. Families can encourage their elderly relatives to take on the challenge throughout lockdown and beyond. Having taught this exercise to thousands of older people, I know what a massive improvement it can make to their lives. Just a 25% improvement can turn back the clock by 10 years. Helping people to stay strong and independent for longer will really help to take the strain off the NHS in the future,” she added.

Over 60s fitness provider warns of serious health impact due to lockdown

Before the lockdown measures were put in place, Move it or Lose it had over 80,000 people over the age of 60 joining its classes from the Highlands of Scotland to the coasts of Cornwall.

Move it or Lose it also have a free YouTube channel where people can log in and try more exercises to help improve their strength, balance and mobility, along with free Facebook Live classes every weekday offering support and encouragement from trained exercise professionals.

To find out more, log onto www.moveitorloseit.co.uk/stand-up-for-the-nhs/

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