As an experienced Move More Referral Instructor, you would have thought ‘Moving Mum’ would be easy! Quite the opposite actually! Giving advice to anyone close to you can be harder than you think.
They seem to put up a resistance to the help being offered. Then, like all families, a tug of war ensues on who is right and who knows best!
Seeing my mum staying indoors so much during COVID-19, and the more recent wet and windy weather, was really troubling me given everything I know about the benefits of staying active .
My mum, Josephine, has had a couple of small strokes, stents, CKD, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and, more recently, severe pain from a frozen shoulder. Because of this, she has reduced the amount of daily activity over the years and admittedly become more sedentary. For mum, exercising in a gym scenario triggered episodes of pain which ingrained an unwillingness to exercise and suffer repeat episodes.
This is one of the reasons why Move More has moved away from using terms like exercise, cardio and resistance training, and instead uses words that better describe what so many people need – like mobility, balance and becoming more active.
Becoming more active is simply about increasing what you do each day and everyone’s starting point is different. For my mum it’s simply getting out on a 15–20-minute walk two to three times a week. But mum’s resistance to walking has become almost indignant towards my words of encouragement. The security mum feels within her four walls has become her daily existence.
My advice and encouragement was frequently met by excuses: ‘I’m not feeling good’, ‘It’s too cold’, ‘It’s too dark’, ‘I’m just about to have my meal’, ‘I’ve just eaten’.
It was then I realised she was FEELING SCARED!
COVID-19 has affected all of us in so many different ways and for many who have had to shield for almost an entire year, relying on family and friends for shopping whilst they listen to the daily news reports, it’s become a scary world outside that front door.
It is also a beautiful one too, and so beneficial for everyone’s physical and mental health to go out for a walk, breathe the fresh air, feel the wind on your face and hear the sounds of nature. We all need to Move More in a way that we enjoy, can stay committed to and works for our individual bodies.
It’s also just as important for those of us less at risk, with family or friends who have become less active, to take the time to encourage them to get out and Move More. Walking with them if they are in your bubble or accompanying them at a safe distance and wearing your mask if they prefer. We can all take that time out of our busy day to pick up the phone or dedicate a small part of our time to accompany someone who is scared or needs the company on a short walk.
The weather has not been great lately but with the right footwear, hat, scarf, gloves and coat it’s surprisingly toasty once you set out. Always make sure you take a mobile phone and any essential medications no matter how short a distance you are going. Set a small goal to work up to – this can be in time, distance, frequency or all three.
Mum reluctantly left the house with me early this morning.
I had to walk slower than my normal pace, but it was a pleasure as mum walked twice as far as we had agreed on. I was able to do my fast paced walk after I saw mum safely home and we both felt uplifted and energised for the day ahead.
I even turned round to find mum jumping in puddles!
A few words from my Mum, Josephine …
“Too cold, too windy, hate walking alone, maybe tomorrow, I’m fine at home”. All excuses I give when my daughter says, ” You should get out for a walk mum and get some fresh air, even if it’s just for ten minutes”.
The real reason, apart from ‘I hate walking alone’, is that I’M SCARED! Scared of the dreaded virus out there. But I know she’s right. I do need to ‘Move More’ and keep up my mobility and strength.
So today at 7.30am when I heard my daughter’s voice, I decided I was ready… “Come on, quick mum before the rain comes in. Put some warm clothes on and let’s go on a little walk.”
The air was so fresh, the sunrise was colouring the clouds pink as dawn was breaking. We laughed, we chatted, and I managed to keep up with her!
What a different start to my day! I was left feeling refreshed, more alive, buzzing, it was a good feeling. I did sit down after with a cup of coffee and a square of chocolate, but it’s a start.
I am going to set a goal to increase the frequency I walk, even when no one is about to walk with me. I can wrap up warm and if it’s raining a bit, well I’m not made of sugar as my daughter tells me often!
And do you know what? I feel a little less scared today.