HUNDREDS of vulnerable residents at risk of feeling extra strain during the lockdown have been helped to exercise their way to wellbeing.
Swansea Council’s National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) team have been going the extra virtual mile to encourage older and vulnerable adults to keep their spirits and health up with daily exercise in their own homes.
And it’s proved to be a real hit with more than 400 people getting their own personal home exercise plans from the team.
Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said the NERS scheme has become a real lifeline to those who’ve not been able to venture out during the pandemic because they’ve been shielding or were vulnerable.
He said: “We all know that exercise is good for you and during the lockdown the NERS team has stayed in touch with those who needed the extra support with online sessions, videos and email chats.
“During the lockdown, the NERS team’s delivered more than 500 calls, written-up well over 400 exercises at home programmes and delivered 20 virtual exercise sessions. The feedback has been great with participants saying the contact has been a perfect antidote to feelings of isolation as well.”
NERS is a national Public Health Wales (PHW) initiative delivered by each Local Authority to support the NHS. The idea behind it is that GPs and other health professionals can prescribe exercise sessions that are delivered safely by experts, in tune with patients’ abilities and wellbeing aspirations.
Often participants have chronic health conditions, or are inactive, and require support. Many NERS participants are older adults.
Among the participants has been 98-year-old World War II veteran Ioan Valentine who served in submarines and was a firefighter during Swansea’s Three Day blitz. He said it was vital for people like him to stay home and stay active.
He said: “I’ve been able to keep active with help from NERS and their videos on Youtube. One of the things I do is march up and down on the spot because it keeps the blood circulating, especially if you keep your back straight.”
Jacqui Morgan, the council’s NERS Physical Activity Development Coordinator, said: “It’s been a challenging time for our NERS participants but the responses to our efforts to stay in touch and encourage people to keep on exercising have been really heartening.
“Physical exercise is a vital part of maintaining health and wellbeing which is why the team’s been so determined to do all we can to carry on supporting some of the most vulnerable in our communities through the pandemic.
“The feedback we’ve had is that the programme has been a real lifeline, it’s been a way to break up the daily routine and stay in touch with one another which, at a time when it’s all too easy to lose contact with people, has been a real boost to morale as well.”