Health and exercise advice for vulnerable Coventry residents this winter

Published Monday, 02 November 2020

Coventry health services are urging older residents and those restricted by a health condition to stay active at home this winter to build their resistance to COVID-19 and Flu.


For many vulnerable people in our communities the ongoing pandemic, lockdown and self-isolation has meant lots of us cannot access our usual activities. In light of the current situation, tips and guides on physical activity and a balanced diet that is achievable at home can help everyone stay healthy, energetic and independent as they get older. Despite the pandemic there are still things going on that we can get involved with the be more active and make a difference

Local Coventry charity Ekta Unity have resumed their BAME community walking group for older residents and those with physical and mental disabilities. It takes place at War Memorial Park at 10.30 every Friday morning in small groups following social distancing guidelines to encourage social walking, due to an increased public motivation to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle during the pandemic and lockdown.

NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are also offering a free Diabetes Community Champion online training session to residents on 12th November on from 10-2.30pm via Microsoft Teams. This is for anyone who wants to make a difference and become a local champion and learn about diabetes awareness, the risks and complications, and how people can make healthy lifestyle choices that could minimise the chances of developing the disease among population groups who area at high risk of diabetes such as the BAME community.

According to WHO, over 95% of COVID-19 deaths occur in those over 60. More than 50% of all deaths involve people aged over 80. Reports show that 8 out of 10 deaths are occurring in individuals with at least one underlying health condition, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes.  Broader effects also impact on older people and those with long term conditions in relation to reduced access to health care for conditions unrelated to COVID-19 and fear of contracting the virus in healthcare settings.

Government guidelines support NHS advice to older people to keep moving. For inactive older adults, replacing long periods of non-movement with light activity is likely to produce some health benefits. Light activity, such as walking, dusting or polishing furniture, or easy gardening, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers, depression and dementia. Being more physically active as you get older helps you to stay pain-free, continue good mental wellbeing, reduces the risk of falls, and helps maintain independence well into old age.

According to Healthy Lifestyles Coventry figures between July and September this year have shown that 117 people that came into the service, did no physical activity. Out of the 117 people, 49% were 50+ and 24% were 60+. As a result of working with the service they have since increased their weekly physical activity by a minimum of 30 minutes.

Figures also show that 50% of Coventry residents with a disability or long-term condition are inactive compared to 43% nationally. For those in our 75+ population, 62% are inactive compared to 51% nationally.   

Cllr Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public health and Sport said: “This year Stoptober is part of the Coventry Health Challenge and being in good health is more important than ever, especially with the COVID-19 virus still circulating.

 “For many of us, as we get older some of the simple pleasures, we took for granted, such as playing with the grandchildren, walking to the shops, and leisure activities become that little bit harder.

“You might start to get aches and pains you never had before, have less energy to go out, develop other health conditions. That’s why saying active as we get older is likely to keep you healthy, energetic and independent for longer and less vulnerable to falling or developing further health complications. We are living in a time where staying as active as possible will only build our resistance to circulating COVID-19 and seasonal Flu.

“Please remember that the Coventry Health Challenge is here to help you, even small changes and light activity will really make a difference to your health. There are many different exercises, ideas and tips you can do at home. So if you are moving into the older stage of life, or have parents that are, getting involved today could make all the difference to your health tomorrow.”

Anna Wheatley, Senior Commissioning Manager at NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The winter months can be a very challenging and difficult time for some of our older residents in Coventry, especially those who might be living on their own and may have a number of long term health conditions, such as; diabetes, asthma and heart disease. The cold temperature can sometimes cause certain health conditions to become worse, by eating healthy and staying physically active this can help people stay fit and well.

“Managing a long-term health condition can be a challenging and worrying time for many people but there is plenty of support available from primary care services, your local pharmacy, healthy lifestyle services, our diabetes prevention and management programmes. You can find out more information at It is important that people continue to attend any routine appointments that they are offered for blood tests, eye screening and foot checks as these services are now set-up to receive patients, and have very high standards of infection control to prevent transmission of Covid-19.”

A Coventry Health Challenge Physical Activity pack will be going out to households across the city via food parcels and can also be found online along with a printable Goal Tracker for those wanting to take on a monthly lifestyle-changing challenge.

Coventry City Council