Folkestone and Hythe
People with a Long-Term Health Condition
Low impact exercise
Age UK Hythe and Lyminge is a local, independent charity in the Folkestone and Hythe District of Kent. The charity provide a friendly, flexible service for older people who want to live independently at home. Part of the national Age UK family the Hythe and Lyminge branch is thriving, providing services for older people to regain their confidence and improve mobility.
Throughout the pandemic the charity noticed a decline in members’ mobility and confidence and an increase in loneliness and isolation. Working with local GP surgeries, individuals who were identified as moderately frail were referred to Age UK to start an exercise programme. Working closely with a postural stability assessor the charity started an assessment process to develop an exercise programme tailored to individual needs.
The fund was used to fund activities including garden exercise, chair yoga and weekly activity books focusing on improving physical and mental health. A walking group called ‘The Strollers’ was also set up where members were transported to an open space and encouraged to walk at their own pace.
- Improved mobility and movement of individuals, giving them the confidence to venture back out and join community activities.
- Improved wellbeing of individuals, staff and volunteers.
- Even a short burst of 10 minutes of exercise showed an increased in positive mood and reduction in anxiety and stress.
- Participants continue to follow their daily exercise programme and attend weekly activity sessions.
I feel I have a bit of life back. I feel safe walking into my kitchen to make a tea or going for a walk to the end of my corridor to keep my legs working. It is so lovely to see and talk to someone, and because I know they’re coming back next week, I have to keep it up don’t I?
Cater for all – The charity noted that some members did not have access to a garden or communal area. Equipment was provided for these individuals so they could continue to exercise at home.
Confidence takes time – A number of members had lost their confidence to venture outside, talking to members and finding out their worries and ways to encourage them to head outside takes time.
Broaden your offer – Find out from members what activities they would like to take part in. Age UK now run walking football, Zumba, yoga, boules and new age kurling.
I just wanted to get out and socialise. I never thought of joining an exercise group. Yoga keeps me supple and it’s at my pace. Boules is fun and it keeps me active.
Age UK Hythe and Lyminge will continue to work with local GP surgeries to offer a range of activities to encourage physical activity. They hope to increase their offer and train up members of staff to deliver to ensure the project is sustainable.