Want to hear more about ‘exercise snacking?’

Academics from the University of Bath’s Department for Health want people aged 65 and over to come forward to take part in new research into the effectiveness of a variety of home-based exercises during the lockdown.

The researchers, who have previously published studies into ‘exercise snacking’ (regular, short bursts of moderate exercise designed to help older adults stay fitter and stronger for longer), hope the programme can help participants stay stronger and healthier in isolation.

They are concerned that prolonged periods of inactivity and reduced physical activity at this time could have long-term negative effects on older age groups. To guard against that, they suggest it is essential that older adults find practical and effective ways to maintain strength and balance during the lockdown.

Dr Polly McGuigan, University of Bath

Researcher Dr Polly McGuigan from the Department for Health explained: “As we get older, our muscles get smaller and weaker, and periods of reduced physical activity can make this worse. Loss of muscle function is associated with poorer balance and mental health, and increased risk of frailty and chronic diseases.

“It is essential that older adults find practical and effective ways to maintain strength and balance during periods of prolonged isolation, and we are undertaking research to help with this.

“Through this new study, we want to understand more about how home-based exercise, in particular, ‘exercise snacking’, Tai-chi, and the standard NHS guidance could all work to maintain, and even improve, function and mental wellbeing in over 65s. We hope that these findings can help older adults choose the right exercise to suit their lifestyle and needs.”

To be eligible to participate in this study, you must:

  • be aged 65 or over
  • be free from musculoskeletal injuries
  • not be currently engaging in another form of regular exercise, be it recreational sports or structured exercise at home (once a week or more)

The research will be conducted online using remote surveys and video calling, and all participants will be asked to undertake a four-week exercise programme. At the end of the study, individuals will have access to all resources for each exercise programme and will learn about ways to exercise to improve muscle strength.

To find out more about the study and contact the research team if you are interested in taking part, please visit: https://www.bath.ac.uk/campaigns/understanding-how-home-based-exercise-can-help-older-adults-stay-healthy-during-covid-19-lockdown/