Stories from people at Level 3

Below are some stories from people who are keeping active during COVID-19 by doing activities relevant to Level 3. Level 3 on our website includes people who regularly walk (at least 30 minutes in one session), feel steady walking outside, may attend a gym, and/or engage in activities such as gardening.



77 years

My name is Margaret and after a lifetime of enjoying sport I am a reasonably fit and active 77 year old.​ ​Since the middle of March 2020 I have kept myself very busy gardening, walking and doing the Tai Chi 24 Forms. 

Unlike many grandparents, I see quite a lot of my 6 year old grandson. On Mondays and Wednesdays I supervise his school lessons, which can be quite challenging mentally. Thank heavens he's not doing Year 12! During breaks we play hand tennis, or go to the park across the road to kick a football. It's amazing how quickly the skill comes back after more than thirty years.​

​As we age it's easy to put things off, and this includes being less inclined to exercise. In pre COVID-19 times I enjoyed regular classes of aqua aerobics, Tai Chi and yoga, but since these classes have ceased I find it better to allocate a specific time to go for a walk rather than let the day get away from me. While not as challenging as the other activities, walking is inexpensive and something you can do on your own. I did try Tai Chi via Zoom but now I put on a DVD and exercise at a time that suits me.  ​

Maintaining fitness is essential to prevent falls and promote cardiovascular health. Inactivity can quickly undermine your strength and balance.



75 years

My Name is Mike and I am 75 years young. I am semi-retired and operate a small business. 

For the past 35 years, apart from continuing to do my own garden pruning and mowing my own lawns, I have undertaken some form of exercise. For about 20 years I attended a gym. Unfortunately about 12 years ago I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and undertook 12 rounds of chemo. I did limited exercise during the 4 months of treatment.

After recovering I elected to join a clinical Pilate’s class under the guidance of a physio. I believe this form of structured exercise is more beneficial to me than the gym as the physio tailors each individual’s exercises and ‘resistance’ program to their needs. The physio also ensures that the exercises are done in the correct manner and the program is varied each session. In addition, the physio checks to see if you have developed any ‘niggles’ since your last visit. I believe this style of exercise has improved my core strength, balance and flexibility.

In addition to my weekly 45 minute clinical Pilates class, I walk with my wife about 4 times a week for about 45 minutes. We usually walk in a park during the week but around the MCG, Birrarung Marr, Southbank, Botanic Gardens or the beach at weekends just to vary the scenery. Of course, a treat often forms part of the walk.

I am also in a walking group that walks the local shopping centre mall 3 days a week before the shops are open. This walk is supervised by an instructor from the local Council operated gym. At the end of the walk, which is at your own pace, you can elect to join the instructor for some stretching and balance exercises. The benefits of this program, which is all free, is that it is an all-weather walk with retired men and women who wish to have a reasonable level of fitness. Of course there is a social aspect and we generally all have a coffee, chat and laugh after the walk.

Unfortunately as a result of COVID-19 I cannot go to my clinical Pilates class or the walks in the mall. However, my wife and I have stepped up the walks in the park and have been able to walk most days for about 45 minutes. I also do some of my Pilates exercises at home.



82 years

My name is Margaret and I was born in 1937 which means I will be 83 this year and I have been living in my own unit in a Retirement Village for over 9 years.


Before the Coronavirus I used to do about 13,000 or 14,000 steps 7 days a week.  However, now in self-isolation I can't go to the swimming pool each morning, I can't do Tai Chi, or exercises with other residents. So I decided to do a minimum of 20,000 steps 7 days a week. We have a fabulous Village where we can walk around the roads and for one round it takes some of us 5 minutes and others quite a bit longer. We are even much more sociable now than we were before the virus.


Many of us go for walks during the day and we stop and chat to others, keeping our social distancing. One elderly lady who we have encouraged to walk said, "Now I know where you all live".

In Winter time I put on 2 or 3 extra kilos and lose it in Summer. This past Summer I did not lose the extra kilos but since doing a minimum of 20,000 steps a day I am back to my Summer weight. The exercises I used to do 5 days a week with other residents I now do while watching the news at night and I do them 7 nights a week.

I am a high extrovert but I have to admit that I am enjoying my self-isolation, but I have to also remember that I do see others and talk to them when I am out walking in our Village.  

This morning I washed the floors in my kitchen, my bathroom and shower and my laundry. My unit is happy and smiling because I am spending more time cleaning and tidying it up. Before the Coronavirus I had more interesting things to do.

My suggestion to others is exercise and walk if you are able, but always listen to your body. After I had been on the go for 4 hours this morning I went onto my bed and had a read for about 20 minutes and then I was fine again.


God bless you all and stay safe and well.



94 years

I’m exercising a lot more because I’ve got a lot more time. U3A classes and golf are off. I still do my bike and I do my walking. I do my walks about 7:30 or 8 in the morning. I do about 4km. I have a banana before I leave then brekkie after. This month I haven’t done less than 10,000 steps a day. I’ve lost a bit of weight…I can’t believe it!

I miss my golf. I miss the Probus walking group. The isolation is the difficult thing. I see a lot of people when I’m out. I like to see people. I like to see them moving. I walk around and see local people. It’s surprising – everyone says g’day or gives a little wave. I usually talk to their dogs rather than the people ‘hello doggy, you’re doing well. You’re pulling your mother along’. We go to a lot of trouble to keep our distance. People are more friendly now. They realise it doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or just hanging on... being out walking is a big leveller.

I do floor exercises too. The back of my legs were sore. I saw my doctor – she takes a real interest in me. She sent me to an exercise physiologist and he gave me the floor exercises. They’re very good. I do all of this pretty near every day now I’ve got more time. I like doing exercises. I like being healthy. You get used to doing them and it becomes a habit. You get cross with yourself when you don’t do them.

My family bought me a pedometer. You clip it in your pocket. It’s like a carrot. A donkey with a carrot. You don’t like to let it down. That little incentive – when you start to see the numbers go up…once you get them up, you don’t go back. 10,000 steps in a day is quite difficult sometimes but I have more time to do it now.

Advice to others: Move your body, but don’t do anything to excess. Do it so there’s just a little bit of stress on your body. If people go mad with it they give it away because it’s too hard. Do it every day. That’s the key. Then it becomes a real habit.


You don’t have to go and get weights…you can use a packet of rice or lentils…put them in a sock and use this as a weight. If the bag bursts it doesn’t go everywhere! Start with ½ kg not enough to hurt but a little bit of effort. You can sit at the table. Bend and straighten your arms. As you get stronger you can use another packet of lentils.  



68 years

My name is Jacqui. I am 68 years old. I have exercised on a regular basis most of my life and since the COVID-19 restrictions I have tried to maintain my fitness regime as much as possible.  


Prior to COVID-19 I was running 4 days a week and going to the gym 3 days a week. I would also walk as often as I could, walking to the shops, the beach etc. Being a member of a running group and of a gym makes keeping fit socially enjoyable and also makes it easy to follow a regular exercise routine. 


With my running group no longer meeting and the gym being closed, I now find that I require a bit more self discipline to keep fit. I remain connected with my running friends and our coach virtually and this helps a lot. I follow the group weekly program and I run 3-4 times a week on my own. Because of the social distancing rules I run early in the morning and in quiet areas. I also pick the quiet streets of my neighbourhood for my walks. 

I have purchased a mat and two small dumbbells to exercise indoors. I do a Pilates class online twice a week and I do a strength class once a week. 


I am spending a lot of time indoors, like a lot of people my age, and my outings are limited to shopping once a week and daily visits to my elderly mother who lives on her own. Exercising is therefore essential for my physical, and more importantly, my mental well-being. My advice is to remain physically active during this difficult period.