Age & Opportunity is continuing to provide safe opportunities for people to be more active.
Its new initiative FitLine is a free telephone service, run by volunteers, that hopes to get older people moving within their communities.
It has recently received funding with the support of Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland’s Keep Well Campaign to take FitLine national, providing the service in both rural and urban areas.
Age & Opportunity is currently encouraging older people to give them a call on their freephone line and learn more about finding that motivation to get active and healthier.
After being set up with FitLine, a mentor will arrange a time to ring their participant every two weeks and will provide information, advice and gentle encouragement over the phone.
“Our mission statement is to see older people more active, more creative, more visible and more connected,” says active programme manager of the Age & Opportunity active programme Sue Guildea.
“FitLine’s goal is to get older people active and we want to see more people meeting the physical activity guidelines.”
Sue explains that adults should be getting 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week and the focus should be on strength, balance and aerobic exercise for older adults in particular.
Sue explains that being physically strong is important: “Being more physically active, stronger and having better balance as you get older reduces the risk of falls, which is very common around older adults.”
“It’s very hard to come back from a fall and the whole idea [of Fitline] is to reduce falls in the first place.
“By being more physically active and mentally stronger, it helps to build up confidence and overall wellbeing,” she explains.
During lockdown, many people are feeling isolated and FitLine hopes that its freephone service will give older people the chance to stay connected.
When asked to advise older people how to increase their daily activity, Sue highlights the importance of checking in with their doctor beforehand.
Starting slowly is key to getting active and Sue reminds people that your 30 minutes of daily exercise can be broken up into 10-minute intervals.
She also advises people to pick an activity that fits into their lifestyle.
“What’s really important is that you think of doing something that you enjoy,” she explains.
“It’s really good to exercise with a family member or a friend when restrictions allow. Exercising with a friend is a good motivator as well.
“I think some people expect too much from themselves all at once so be kind to yourself,” Sue concludes.
To find out more about FitLine’s services, freephone 1800 303 545, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ageandopportunity.ie.