The charity Age Scotland is beginning a new programme of exercise from next week aimed at keeping older people, their families and their carers, mentally and physically fit and well.

There will be three ten minute classes each day aired on YouTube with a variety of exercises to improve the strength, balance and flexibility of older people who are staying at home more.

As the days grow shorter it can be more challenging to exercise outdoors. Around The House in 80 Days – ATH80 – offers a series of accessible, enjoyable exercises that can be done in every room in the house, including Bedroom Boogie and Bathroom Banter. 

The project promises to be a lot of fun, but there is a serious intent behind it. 

Lockdown and ongoing restrictions have left tens of thousands of older people living with “deconditioning” – the effect of declining physical fitness caused by not getting out and about and spending long periods of time sitting.

There are two parts to the programme – as well as the three short videos a day through November promoting a daily exercise routine, there will also be a follow-up telephone friendship circle in December and January for older people who want to stay in touch and get more tips on improving their health and wellbeing. 

Age Scotland chief executive, Brian Sloan, said: “For many older people, lockdown brought about an abrupt end to the exercise classes, walking sports and outdoor activities which kept them physically active and were also an important opportunity to socialise.

“We know that  spending long periods of time sitting on the couch in front of the TV, has an adverse impact  on the physical health of older people  including loss of mobility, stiffening of joints and an increased risk of falls due to  stiffness and  inactivity.  

“Staying active is hugely important – it will not only help physical health but also benefit overall mental wellbeing. 

“ATH80 is the ideal way for older people, with the support of families and carers, to exercise safely in their own homes. I hope as many people as possible can take part and enjoy the benefits of movement.” 

This pilot project will be led by Yolanda Strachan and Jenny Ackland, Age Scotland’s Health and Wellbeing Professionals. They said:

“We are delighted to share Around The House in 80 Days (ATH80) with older people across Scotland. It’s a movement programme that will great fun as well as extremely beneficial.

“We will be releasing 10 minute videos filmed in different rooms in our houses every week day in November and they’ll be uploaded onto the Age Scotland YouTube channel at the same times every day – 10am, 1pm and 4pm.

“We’ll be encouraging participants to share their experiences with us and with each other and we would love to hear if this works for you so please leave a comment on YouTube if you join in a session.

“It’s a great opportunity also to make new friends and connections across the country, especially for anyone feeling isolated and lonely.

“There will also be plenty of information on our website about how to move safely, take things at your own pace and take a break when you feel like it.

“A limited number of DVDs with a selection of the videos will also be made available for older people who don’t have access to the internet.”

“Following on from the videos in November we’re going to stay in touch throughout December and January with regular friendship circles where older people can join phone chats and get motivational tips to keep active.”