Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Carers UK partner with fitness company to help carers improve health and wellbeing

Carers UK has partnered with digital workout specialist, 1FitLife, to create bespoke activity wellbeing videos to help carers get more active and improve their self-worth and value.

More than 6.5 million people in the UK are unpaid carers who support a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. Recent research found that unpaid carers find physical activity harder compared to other adults and face poorer health outcomes as a result of caring. Yet, unpaid carers who were able to do more physical activity saw real health benefits.

The partnership forms part of its Carers Active Project to help address the challenges the Carers and Physical Activity report revealed. This examined unpaid carers and physical activity, focusing on the barriers, motivation and experiences of unpaid carers aged over 55.

Carers face significant barriers to accessing physical activity

The research revealed that many carers face problems with their own health and wellbeing as a result of their caring role and provides clear evidence that unpaid carers are at a health disadvantage when compared with their peers who don’t have caring responsibilities. The study found carers are less likely to take part in physical activity and can face significant barriers in doing so. The report also shows that loneliness and the inability to take part in physical activity are linked.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “Caring can have a huge effect on people’s lives, plans and normal routines. Physical activity is often the last thing a carer would be thinking about while they may be looking after a loved one, family member or friend.

The videos are tailor-made specifically for carers, taking into account the various challenges they face which carers have told us are so important. We hope that these videos will provide some of the motivation and help carers to incorporate more physical activity into their day.”

Carers Active, the three-year project, funded by Sport England, has allowed the charity to create a ‘Carers Active Hub’ to help this group make being active part of their daily routine in the light of research that shows carers are often isolated and finding the time and affordable access to physical activity is challenging.

David Langridge, Managing Director at 1FitLife, a leading agency for fitness and wellness content creation, said: “Unpaid carers are often guilty of not doing something for themselves, and throughout filming we considered ‘who cares for the carers?’ The content was created with them at the forefront of our minds.

“We filmed the videos at our studios, with unpaid carers, reflecting their real-life experiences. It was wonderful to work with the carers, as this makes the content all the more relatable. Carers needed to see themselves participating in the exercise sessions.

“The programme we created was always mindful of carers’ circumstances, understanding their energy levels and time available may be short. The online sessions are simple, often with seated exercise variations, and were voiced over in post-production to gently guide carers through the routines. It was important to 1FitLife that the sessions help carers not only to get more active, but to improve their self-worth and value.”

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