An active lifestyle is very important for individuals of all ages and abilities. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are forced to stay at home, which has disrupted our usual active routine, especially for older adults.
As we all know, people 65 and over, and those who have serious underlying medical conditions, are said to be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Exercise and physical activities help aging adults stay healthy, energetic and independent. Furthermore, being active strengthens the immune system, maintains weight, enhances mobility, flexibility and balance, reduces depression, and most importantly, it helps decrease your susceptibility to the coronavirus.
That being said, exercise is something that shouldn’t be left out in your new stay at home routine.
If you used to go out with friends and family to do various physical activities, I agree that at a time like this, the options are limited. But that shouldn’t stop you from finding ways to workout while you are stuck at home.
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent, for all healthy adults aged 65 and higher.
Of course, safety is a top priority among elders and those with chronic condition, so if you are one, or caring for an elder loved one, make sure to consult your doctor before starting a new vigorous exercise.
In the meantime, here fun and moderate ways to stay active during social-distancing, lockdown and quarantine.
1. Take an early morning walk.
Jumpstart your day with a morning walk, which is one of the best low-impact exercises that’s so easy to do. It’s also a great way to get your daily dose of sunshine for some Vitamin D. Make sure to apply sunscreen, wear proper shoes, and stay hydrated.
Going out for a walk is okay as long as you stay 6-feet apart from people, but you don’t want to risk that at all, you can just walk around the room, up and down hallway or stairwell, in your back or frontward.
If you are willing to invest on an exercise machine, now is the time to really get a good use out of it. A treadmill, elliptical or indoor bicycle are my top recommendations.
To keep track of your steps, real-time pace and distance, calorie burn, as well as heart rate, I would recommend the Fitbit Charge 3, to give you a deeper understanding of your body, health and your progress.
2. Dance it off.
It’s hard not to feel down during this time of uncertainty, but just like physical health, we need to give importance to our well-being too. Dancing to upbeat music is a great way to get your mind off the crisis. It’s not just a fun way to produce happy hormones, it’s also known for its cardiovascular benefits. You can follow along numerous dance workouts online, or on DVD, or just do your own moves to your favorite songs.
3. Try indoor yoga.
Another physical activity that’s really good for both physical and mental health is Yoga. Aside from encouraging mindfulness, reducing anxiety and depression, yoga also improves respiration, which has positive effects to the mind and body. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a yoga mat that doesn’t even cost a lot. Yoga mats can range from cheap ones under $10, good quality, mid-range ones under $30, to really expensive cushioned mats over $100.
4. Join virtual classes.
If money isn’t an issue, enrolling yourself in an online fitness class would be the best option if you want a workout regimen that’s customized to your needs, schedule, and preferences. Plus, you’ll also get to support local businesses or trainers.
The YMCA offers free online exercises and programs to support your health and well-being from home.
5. Plant a garden.
You don’t need to go far if you want a body and mind workout. You might not know it but gardening burns more calories than you realize, and it’s something that you can just do from your own backyard. Plus, harvesting what you planted is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, don’t you think? Grocery runs nowadays aren’t an easy breezy task, and having your own vegetables, fruits and herbs in your own home definitely comes handy.