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Olympics star Lady Mary to help elderly stay fit with video series

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Lady Mary Peters hopes to get older people moving during lockdown

Lady Mary Peters hopes to get older people moving during lockdown

Some of the exercises in the new online videos

Some of the exercises in the new online videos

Some of the exercises in the new online videos

Some of the exercises in the new online videos

Some of the exercises in the new online videos

Some of the exercises in the new online videos

Lady Mary Peters hopes to get older people moving during lockdown

Northern Ireland's Olympic legend Lady Mary Peters is planning to give fitness guru Joe Wicks a run for his money with a new series of exercise videos aimed at creating a new breed of golden oldies.

Northern Ireland's Olympic legend Lady Mary Peters is planning to give fitness guru Joe Wicks a run for his money with a new series of exercise videos aimed at creating a new breed of golden oldies.

The launch comes as health experts warned of the dangers to older people from a lack of regular movement.

UK research has also revealed that 40% of older people are worried about the effects of the lockdown on their mental health and physical wellbeing.

Teaming up with Age NI, Move with Mary is a series of five exercise videos, released online this week, to cater for every level of capability, ranging from simple seated stretches, to balance, strength and gentle aerobic exercises suited to older people.

Lady Mary Peters said it has never been more important for older people to try to remain as active as possible.

"To me, movement is life; it's so important as you get older to keep active," she said.

"These exercises are nice and gentle, and trust me, they will help you to feel good during this difficult period of lockdown.

"We have some stretches you can do whilst sitting in a chair, moves you can practise while standing waiting for the kettle to boil, or brushing your teeth, even working up to a bit of kitchen dancing if you feel up to it.

"One of the added benefits of regular exercise is the feeling of community you get from doing the same as others.

"Hopefully we can create a little virtual community of what I'm calling my golden oldies all doing these daily workouts together."

Linda Robinson, chief executive of Age NI, said that her organisation has very real concerns that the continued lockdown could lead to a health crisis among the elderly.

"The British Geriatrics Society has warned that lockdown and social distancing measures have led to dangerously low levels of physical activity in older people, which, if not addressed as a matter of urgency, will prove to be detrimental to their physical and mental health," she said.

"Our service users and their families are telling us that they are worried about the effects of not moving as regularly over this past three months: they are stiffening up, muscle strength is diminishing and this can affect their balance - which is a particular worry for older people. All of this can lead to a loss of confidence, even in terms of simple mobility around the house.

"Our real concern is that this is storing up the next health crisis for our older population.

"We need to do all we can to avoid further loss of independence or the need for additional medical treatment in the future.

"That's why we wanted to do something to help older people to keep moving while at home.

"With the success of Joe Wicks and his online school PE classes, we thought we could do something similar.

"We are thrilled to have Lady Mary Peters leading this important campaign at such a challenging time.

"With Move with Mary, we're going to give Joe Wicks a run for his money!"

The videos have been developed to support the work of the Northern Ireland Frailty Network, Age Friendly Network NI, care homes and The Age Sector Networks, groups delivering locally for the benefit of older people. A booklet, 'Keeping Well at Home', will complement this online resource. Welcoming the opportunity to collaborate on this initiative, Olive MacLeod, interim chief executive of the Public Health Agency, thanked Lady Mary for playing such a key role in the delivery of this campaign.

"Lady Mary is one of our local treasures and we want to see our older population live long and healthy lives.

"We hope that anyone who is isolating or shielding will really benefit from this important message," she said.

The Move with Mary exercises will be available as a download from www.ageni/movewithmary, with the series of five short workout videos being released across this week on Age NI's social media on facebook.com/agenicharity, Twitter @Age_NI, and Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/agenitv.

Belfast Telegraph