New NHS initiative: get fit in your own front room
People in Tyneside are set to benefit from a new exercise programme
Over 317,000 households across Gateshead, Newcastle and North Tyneside will have the new HowFit (Home Wellbeing and Fitness) Plan instructional leaflet delivered to their homes free of charge. The Plan is designed to help people improve their fitness and health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the aid of a brand new website, HowFit encourages users of any ability, from chair based to fairly fit, to undertake a plan of simple exercises that can be carried out at home without the need for any special equipment.
The programme was created by local Consultant Physician and Academic Geriatrician, Dr Steve Parry, who developed HowFit with a personal trainer and professional physiotherapists. Dr Parry has strong links with the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, recently Co-Chairing the COvid Vulnerable Older People (COVOP) Action Group with BRC Director Prof Avan Sayer.
Dr Parry said:
Being at home for a long time during the Covid-19 pandemic means that few of us have been getting the exercise that we used to. Even before the Covid-19 virus hit, not enough of us were getting the exercise we needed to stay as fit as possible.
Regular exercise carries a number of important benefits, which have never been more important than during the pandemic. However, I realised that there are very few exercise programmes for people to carry out in their own home and even fewer that are suitable for people who are unfit or who have difficulty mobilising. Individuals can choose the level that best suits their level of fitness and create their own plan.
HowFit has been designed to include exercises of varying difficulties, meaning that it is suitable for adults of any age, whether you currently exercise or not and without the need for any special equipment. The accompanying website has videos to show you how to do the exercises too.
HowFit has been created in partnership with NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG.
Dr Richard Scott, a North Tyneside GP and Clinical Chair of NHS North Tyneside CCG said:
We are delighted to be involved in the development of HowFit and recognise the benefit it will bring to people in North Tyneside.
As well as making you feel happier and healthier, exercise can cut down your risk of developing medical issues such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, and can also reduce the chance that you could be admitted to hospital due to illness or accident. It can improve your strength, flexibility, balance and stamina with the convenience of exercising in your own home at a time that suits you and at a pace that suits you.
The HowFit Plan provides the user with a range of exercises divided into four categories; 1.mobility, 2. strength, 3. cardiovascular health and 4.stability, balance and co-ordination – with videos and animations on the website to demonstrate how the exercise is carried out. Dr David Jones, a GP in Newcastle and Clinical Chair of NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG said: “Though it might be tempting to skip on exercise in these challenging times, it is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing.
By carrying out the HowFit exercise programme a few days a week it can improve your mental health and wellbeing so it is important that we all make exercise as part of our daily routine.
The HowFit information leaflet will be distributed to households across Gateshead, Newcastle and North Tyneside from the 5th October 2020. More information can also be found on the HowFit website at www.howfittoday.co.uk.