Over the past couple of years, more than half of us have started taking up new forms of exercise. New trends are sweeping in to replace old habits, and outdoor exercise, in particular, is seeing a major boost in popularity. It's great for getting you out of the house and helping you to connect with nature. If you've been thinking about getting back out there and improving your fitness, outdoor exercise may be the new habit you've been looking for.
Exercise Habits During Lockdown
At the beginning of the first national lockdown, exercise habits hit a temporary low. Gyms and leisure centres closed, classes were cancelled, and anxiety kept people indoors. Whilst home workouts saw an increase in popularity it was not until the sixth week of lockdown that the majority of people felt confident to leave their home for exercise.
With this change in attitude came a surge in outdoor exercise. This increase was most prevalent amongst people who were working from home. More than three quarters of home workers left the house to exercise, heading to their local parks. The increase in exercising coincided with an increased interest in nature-based activities such as birdwatching.
As we make our way through 2022, the popularity of outdoor exercise remains high, and it looks set to be the big fitness trend of the new year.
The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Getting out and about does wonders for your wellbeing. Even a fifteen-minute walk can boost your mood and improve your health.
Improve Your Mental Health
Social distancing and shielding led to a major increase in loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly. A lack of interaction with loved ones can often result in deteriorating mental health. Getting out of the house and going for a walk can help to alleviate stress. You may also bump into friends, allowing you to socialise.
Mental health can often take a hit in the winter months. Many people struggle over Christmas or in the New Year. You may have heard of the “winter blues” or “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)”; these are names given to seasonal patterns in mental health.
Now that the weather is improving, a short walk through your local park or down to the shops could help to clear your mind and improve your mood. If you are worried about a fall or feeling unwell, consider going out with a friend or family member. You might also want to invest in a mobility aid.
It’s never too late to improve your fitness. It is just as important for the elderly to exercise as it is for anyone else. Regular exercise helps to combat high blood pressure, burn fat, and improve circulation. It will also help you to build up your strength, which can help prevent falls.
Walking is ideal for building up the muscles in your legs, and as you feel more confident, you may want to try other forms of exercise such as cycling. Of course, the most important thing is to know your limits. Whilst the NHS recommends doing 150 minutes of exercise a week, not all of this needs to be spent power-walking.
Connect With Nature
In an age of increasing urbanisation, many of us have lost our connection to the natural world. We might see the occasional bird through our kitchen window or enjoy the shade of a tree, but we’re rarely far away from the rushing of cars or the cold brick of a house. Outdoor exercise could be what you need to forge a newfound love for nature.
In fact in 2020, the RSPB saw an increase of web traffic with people looking for birdwatching hotspots. Taking some time every week to visit a nature trail affords you with plenty of opportunities for sighting elusive animals. A trip to a forest gets you away from the hustle and bustle of towns. If you have friends who are also looking to enjoy outdoor exercise, why not arrange a walking trip?
And you need not worry about getting lost on your explorations. As well as most routes being well signposted, there are also plenty of apps to support you when out and about. For example, if you need to call for help, what3words could help the emergency services find your exact location.
Over the lockdowns, loneliness in the elderly population became far more prevalent. Social distancing and shielding meant that many elderly people were unable to see their loved ones. This had a drastic effect on their mental health.
Engaging in outdoor exercise enables you to spend time with friends or family. You will be out in the fresh air, taking time to catch up and have a laugh. This can help fight the symptoms of isolation and boost your mood.
Ideal Outdoor Exercise for the Elderly
Amongst the easiest forms of outdoor exercise to engage in, walking is great for building up your strength and getting outside. A steady walk can make it easy to clear your mind, and it’s a form of exercise that can be gradually increased in intensity. As you feel your strength improving, start picking up the pace every so often. Extend your routes and take different paths; a climb up a hill will push you harder.
Walking can aid with circulation, strengthens the heart and lungs, and has even been found to help prevent dementia. Plus, it’s one of the few forms of exercise that allows you to talk easily whilst doing it!
Cycling or Running
Cycling is great for building up muscle, but it also benefits your cardiovascular health and improves your balance. Maintaining good fitness in these areas will help you feel more confident at home, as you will be less likely to have a fall. Like walking, you can gradually increase your cycling habits. Start with short rides on level terrain, and slowly push yourself to cycle along longer routes with hills.
If you don't have a bike, you can up your activity by going for a run. If walks are starting to feel a little too sedate, a steady jog will get the blood pumping. Even a five minute run once a week will do your body some good. Over time you will strengthen your muscles and build up your cardiovascular endurance. When you feel strong enough, why not join a fun run?
Even just moving around in the garden counts as outdoor exercise. Watering your plants with a watering can helps to strengthen the muscles in your arm and digging up weeds can also be a good workout. Doing a few daily jobs in your garden will soon add up. The benefits of gardening include a lower risk of osteoporosis and some cancers; your mental health will also see an improvement.
And there is no need to worry about having a fall in your garden. Our fall detector plan will automatically send an alert if it sense a fall, and its 100m range means it will still operate outside.
A full game of golf can be a great workout, exercising your legs, arms, lungs, and heart. You could walk up to four miles for a single 18-hole game, and every swing you take will work your muscles. A few good stretches before you begin will ward off too many aches and pains. Of course, golf is also a very social game, which brings its own benefits to your wellbeing.
Whilst yoga can easily be done in the comfort of your own home, there is something freeing about doing it in the open air. This is an activity best done in summer when the weather is warmer. Yoga helps to increase blood flow and relieve stress. It can also help with arthritis.
If you are unsure about trying yoga, or want to build up your strength first, consider reading our post on chair yoga. It will provide you with some easy poses to ease you into the art.
Swimming in an outdoor pool is the perfect activity for summer. It is great for building up strength without putting too much strain on the body. Water helps to cushion the joints, allowing you to move around without putting undue strain on your muscles. A few laps in the pool can help build up your cardio endurance. Alternatively, you may find that walking around a shallow pool is less tiring than a walk along a road.
For the more adventurous among you, why not try wild swimming? It comes with additional benefits, such as helping blood circulation in ways normal swimming does not.
Exercise Safely with Lifeline24
Here at Lifeline24 we want our customers to feel confident at home. As part of our commitment to your wellbeing, we offer the Fall Detector plan. This fantastic device provides you with 24/7 coverage 365 days a year.
For more information on the Fall Detector, check out our simple guide. You can also read our guide to the personal alarm service. If you still have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our helpful customer service team on 0800 999 0400.
The UK has an ageing population, which means that pressure on hospitals and the care sector is increasing. Waiting times for both planned and urgent medical treatment are on the rise. Thankfully, personal alarms can help. Having a personal alarm system can help people continue living safely in the comfort of their own home, rather than moving into a care home or staying in a hospital bed that is in demand.
This article will explain how personal alarms work. We will also discuss why the personal alarm service is necessary, before taking a look at the different kinds of alarms on offer.
Help When You Need it Most
A personal alarm is an ideal solution for elderly and disabled people, especially those who live alone. Accidents and medical emergencies are always a worry for those who live by themselves. What would happen if you had a fall? Even for people who live with others, it can be difficult to get the help you need in an emergency.
Statistics show that falls are the most common cause of hospital admissions and injury-related deaths in people over the age of 75. In fact, deaths as a result of falls more than doubled between 2008 and 2016.
How Personal Alarms Can Help
Personal alarms can help prevent these problems. If the wearer suffers a fall, one touch of their pendant button will raise a call for assistance. There are even alarms with built-in fall detectors. These intelligent devices will automatically raise a call for help if the wearer suffers a fall. Without a personal alarm, there is a chance that an elderly person could be lying on the floor for hours, or even days, before somebody comes to visit.
Even if you never need to use it, a personal alarm can be a significant boost to your confidence. Users will feel more secure and enjoy living in the comfort of their home, rather than feeling forced to go into a care home.
How Do Personal Alarms Work?
Personal alarm systems tend to come in two parts. The first is the base unit, which connects to the mains power and telephone socket. The base unit is the system's hub. It contains a built-in speaker and microphone, which is how the Response Team will speak to the user. The best example of a personal alarm base unit is the Lifeline Personal Alarm - our standard personal alarm system.
The second part of most alarm systems is a pendant button. The user should wear their pendant throughout the day, whether they are inside the home or outside in the garden. In the event of an emergency, the user should press this button to call for assistance.
Pressing the alarm button will raise an alert with the Response Team. A member of the team will answer the call and ask the alarm user what has happened. This will help them determine the best course of action. In most cases, the Response Team will call on the user's chosen emergency contacts to come and help them. If it's a medical emergency, the Response Team will also call for an ambulance.
There are also personal alarms with extra safety features such as fall detection. Next, let's take a look at the different types of personal alarms available.
The Lifeline Personal Alarm Base Unit contains the very latest telecare technology. It is manufactured by Tunstall in the UK and is their sixth-generation personal alarm unit. The base unit is compact and comes in a grey and white finish. The unit will easily fit in with other bits of furniture at home.
The Lifeline Personal Alarm Unit features a built-in loudspeaker and microphone. This allows for easy two-way communication between our Response Team and the alarm user.
The loudspeaker is designed to be loud enough to be heard even from another room. However, even if you can't hear the Response Team in an emergency, there is no need to panic. Help will still be arranged and sent to your home.
The personal alarm will also continue to work during a power cut. The Lifeline Personal Alarm has a backup battery with a 40-hour charge. In the event of a power cut, this battery will kick-in to ensure that you can still call for help if you suffer a fall during this time. Once the power cut is over, the backup battery will automatically recharge itself so that it is ready to boot up if another power cut occurs.
How to Install the Lifeline Personal Alarm Unit
The unit couldn't be easier to install. Anyone can set it up in minutes, whether it's the alarm user themselves, or a friend or relative.
- To begin, plug the personal alarm unit into the existing telephone socket.
- Next, plug the telephone into the back of the alarm unit with the adaptor provided.
- Finally, plug the alarm unit into a power socket and the device will be ready to test.
To test the alarm, press the red help button on the base unit. The Response Team will know that the alarm is being tested and will respond over the loudspeaker. The team member will talk the alarm user through the test and let them know that everything is up and running. The user will have the opportunity to test their pendant in different rooms of the house as well as outside in the garden.
- Weight - 572g
- Dimensions - 185mm x 122mm x 41mm (WxLxD)
There are only three buttons on the Lifeline base unit. Each of these buttons has a simple function:
- Red Help Button - This works in the same way as the red pendant button. You can press this button in an emergency to raise an alert call.
- Green Cancel Button - If you press your red button by mistake, there is no need to panic. You can press the green button to cancel the call. Don't worry if the alarm call isn't cancelled in time. The Response Team will always be glad to know that you are alright.
- Yellow Home/Away Button - This button is not normally used in the Lifeline Alarm service. Please do not press it unless the Response Team instruct you to.
Our standard personal alarm system comes with a Lifeline Personal Alarm Unit and a MyAmie Pendant. The pendant is small and discreet, which ensures that it can be worn comfortably and won't attract attention. In fact, the pendant is half the size of the previous model - but the emergency button is a third larger.
You can choose to wear it as a necklace or around the wrist like a watch. Both attachments are included alongside the alarm.
- Water-resistant - The MyAmie can be worn in the bath or shower, where falls are more likely because of slippery surfaces.
- 100 Metre Range - The pendant will work outside in the garden. It has a range of up to 100 metres, which means that alarm users can still enjoy playing with their grandchildren outside or tending to their garden.
- No Charging - The MyAmie uses batteries, which last around seven years. We will issue replacement batteries before they run out.
The MyAmie Pendant is comfortable to wear. Some users tell us that they never take their pendants off - even when they pop to the shops or go out to meet friends. You may also choose to add an additional pendant to your system. One could be for inside the home and the other for the garden. Alternatively, users could leave a spare on their bedside table. You may instead wish to purchase an additional pendant for your partner or someone else you live with. You can both use the same Lifeline alarm unit, saving you money and saving space in your home.
For extra peace of mind, lots of users choose to upgrade to a Fall Detector pendant. The Vibby Fall Detector is sleek, stylish, and technologically advanced. Users can wear it on the wrist or like a necklace, just like our standard pendant. The main difference is that the Vibby can detect when the user suffers a fall and automatically send an alert call to our Response Team – there’s no need to press a button.
The Vibby pendant is compact and comfortable to wear, made from hypoallergenic plastic with a modern white finish. It weighs only 35g and is no bigger than the face of a watch. It's also water resistant, so you can raise an alert if you fall in the bathroom. You can also press the face of the Vibby pendant to raise an alarm call, whether you have fallen or not.
A red LED light will flash to confirm that the alarm has been raised. The Vibby pendant will also vibrate to confirm that an alert call has gone through to our Response Team. To cancel the alert, simply cover the face of the Vibby with your hands or stand up within 20 seconds of the fall.
1 in 3 people over 65 will have a fall every year. A fall detector alarm can give you the reassurance you need to live confidently at home. It will also give your family and friends some much-needed peace of mind.
All of our alarm users are connected to the Lifeline Response Team. The team operates 24 hours a day, which means that somebody will always respond when you press your pendant. What's more, the Lifeline Response Centre has received Platinum accreditation from the TEC Services Association (TSA) for our life-saving service. The TSA is the industry and standards body for Telecare and Telehealth services in the UK.
We use the latest technology to ensure our service is reliable. Moreover, our team have dedicated hotlines to local ambulance services across the country. This speeds up the process even further, ensuring that help will be on its way within a few minutes.
What Happens When You Press Your Button
Whenever a user raises the alarm, the Response Team will receive an instant alert. Here's what happens next:
- A team member will respond within seconds. They will speak with the alarm user over the loudspeaker to see what has happened.
- The Response Team will assess the situation by asking the user a few simple questions. This helps us determine the best course of action.
- The team member will call your emergency contacts and explain what has happened. If necessary, they will also notify the emergency services. If the user has provided any medical information, the team will pass this information on to paramedics where appropriate. This places them in the best possible position to help once they arrive on the scene.
- The team member will keep checking on the alarm user to reassure them and monitor their welfare while they wait for assistance.
- Help will arrive at the front door. With a keysafe installed, paramedics will be able to gain access to the property even if the door is locked.
Emergency contacts are an important part of our service. These are the people we will contact when an alarm user presses their alarm and needs help. Our Response Team will call them, tell them what's happened, and ask them to travel to the alarm user's home immediately.
Alarm users select their emergency contacts during the set-up process, but can still change them at a later date. We advise choosing at least two people as emergency contacts. Most people choose one or more of the following:
- Close friends
Ideally, there should be at least one emergency contact who lives reasonably close to the alarm user, so that they can get to the user's house quickly in an emergency. In an emergency, the Response Team will begin by calling the first emergency contact on the user's list. If that person does not respond or is unable to attend for any reason, the Response Team will simply move on to the next person on the list. In the rare event that they are unable to contact any of the emergency contacts, they will call the emergency services to provide assistance.
Once the elderly alarm is installed, users will be connected to our Response Team. The highly-trained team operates 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure that our customers always have somebody to call for help.
Personal alarms are exempt from VAT. As long as the alarm user meets the criteria set by HMRC there is no need to pay any VAT when you order the alarm. More than 90% of Lifeline alarm users are eligible for VAT Exemption.
To qualify for VAT Exemption, the alarm user will need to have a long-term illness, terminal illness or disability. Examples of conditions include:
There are a few misconceptions about personal alarms that may make some people hesitant to join our life-saving service. Our alarms are quick and easy to install and are very simple to use.
One myth about personal alarms is that they won't work during a power cut. This isn't the case. The Lifeline Personal Alarm unit has a backup battery, which includes 40 hours of charge. Should a power cut occur, this backup battery will ensure that you can still press your pendant for help. Once the power cut is over, the backup battery will recharge automatically so that it is ready for the next power cut.
Another myth is that you won't be able to wear your pendant whilst you're having a bath or shower. In fact, all our alarm pendants are water resistant. This means that if you slip or fall in the bath or shower, you can still press your pendant to raise an alarm with our Response Team.
We've debunked the top five myths about personal alarms, which we hope will put minds at ease.
Personal alarms can keep you safe at home. A keysafe adds an extra layer of security. Keysafes are secure metal boxes that you can attach to the exterior wall of a property. Inside the keysafe, the owner keeps one or more spare keys to their home.
A keysafe is so much safer than hiding spare keys underneath plant pots and doormats, which can make you vulnerable to thieves. With a keysafe, keys will be safely stored behind a secure combination lock. Only those who know the code will be able to open the keysafe and access the keys inside.
We recommend that you share this code with your emergency contacts. You should also share your code with our Response Team, who can then pass it on to the emergency services during an emergency. This way, paramedics will be able to enter your home quickly and safely to assist you, without causing any costly damage to your property.
There are three Keysafes on offer at Lifeline24:
Looking After People's Well-Being
Having an alarm at home can boost the user's confidence and give their loved ones peace of mind. People who live alone no longer have to worry about what might happen if they have an accident. Day or night, somebody will always be there to respond and send help.
Personal alarms also reassure families that their loved ones are being looked after. If anything happens, we can notify your family straight away. Lifeline24 provides peace of mind to everybody involved.
"I just feel that I don’t have to worry as much anymore. With me, I have a greater risk of falling with my legs giving way, and if I do then there is just no way of getting back up off the floor. The knowledge that the personal alarm is there, and if something bad does happen that it is there, means that there is no need to worry so much." - Mr. Johnson
Once you join our life-saving service you'll also be assigned a dedicated account manager. This means that if you have any queries about your account, you'll be able to give your account manager a direct call and talk about them over the phone.
Have a Question? Find Out More About the Personal Alarm
For more information about our life-saving personal alarms, send an email to email@example.com or speak to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
You can also order your Lifeline alarm online today. All our personal alarms are sent out with free next-day delivery, so you could be up and running within just 24 hours. You can also order by telephone - just call the number above.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on 2nd March 2022 to reflect current information.