Covid leading to serious falls in fitness levels

If don't have weights, try using household objects to make your exercise more challenging

Doctors say fitness has suffered during the lockdowns - but it's about taking on small changes and challenges to improve health - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A leading doctor has spoken of the urgency of addressing falling fitness levels following a year of coronavirus lockdowns.

Ronan Fenton, medical director for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership said falling “conditioning” is leading to wider-physical problems and action was needed in the next six months.

He said: “It is needed right now and to put that in context there is an immediacy about this.

“I am hearing from primary care colleagues that link with the clinical director for the primary care networks. They are telling me that right now they are worried about the conditioning they are seeing among their patients and people who have not moved very much in the last year due to lockdowns.

“They are quite worried about the increase in physical issues because of this and increase in mental health issues because of this.

“I am also hearing from my secondary care colleagues about their concerns about deconditioning and the impact that has on recovery after operations they are now having.

“So there are both immediate issues in the next six-months to a year which requires us all to put our shoulders behind the wheel and of course there is the long term goal that increasing physical activity does to increase healthy lifestyles and enjoyment of a life well lived."

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The major impact the pandemic has had on physical activity levels has sparked the need to expedite the development of ‘Fit for the Future’ – a new physical activity scheme being promoted by Essex County Council.

Doctor Fenton said: “It’s not about weightlifting. It’s about walking your kid to school. It is about small changes that make a big difference in an individual’s life.”

He added that encouraging even a small change “can make a big difference”.

The ‘Fit for the Future’ programme includes promoting the diverse range of physical activity services, programmes and projects currently being delivered, as well as a new 10-year strategy for physical activity and sport in Essex and a new social marketing campaign to activate the new strategy.