The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone’s lives in some way. If you’re a senior, you might feel especially affected by the pandemic, because you could be considered “at risk” for contracting the illness or experiencing more severe symptoms. Seniors have been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, which is why it’s extremely important to follow safety guidelines like wearing masks, social distancing, and staying at home as much as possible.
Because of those rules, you might not be able to get to your local gym or fitness center. Many of them have shut down across the country, anyway.
But it’s incredibly important for seniors to stay active, especially during these times of uncertainty. If you find yourself stuck at home or unable to get out as much as you might like, there are still ways to exercise every day. Developing a regular ‘workout’ routine will help you to get through these long days, and stay strong and healthy in the midst of this pandemic.
Why Exercising Is Important for Seniors
Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it should be a consistent part of your routine if you’re older. Studies have shown that regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, can help to reduce the risk of certain chronic illnesses, including:
In addition to lowering your chances of developing certain diseases, exercise can also help you feel good every single day. It boosts your immune system, can give you more energy, and will even allow you to sleep better at night.
Additionally, exercise can help to lower blood pressure and increase bone density, both of which tend to be issues for people over the age of 65.
Without regular exercise, your health may start to suffer. When that happens as an older individual, it often becomes harder to take care of yourself properly. You may end up relying on family members or friends to help you, or you may have to look into an assisted living facility. While regular exercise certainly isn’t a “cure-all” or a guarantee that nothing will happen, it is a great way to take your health into your own hands.
Exercises You Can Do at Home
Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s easy to exercise from home on your own. If you do have a gym you regularly go to, look into any information they might be sharing online. Many gyms are offering tips or pre-planned workouts you can do on your own. Others are hosting Zoom classes that you could join virtually with all the friends you’re used to seeing.
If you want to try something on your own, check out YouTube for free workout videos that are made for all fitness levels and ages. Some of the most popular fitness channels include:
*Yoga with Adriene
*Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone
All of these channels have a variety of videos you can look through to find workouts that fit your needs.
There are also no rules in place that say you can’t get outside to exercise. Doing yoga in the park or simply taking a walk around your neighborhood helps to reduce stress levels while you’re still social distancing.
If you’re finding it hard to stay motivated when it comes to staying fit on your own, you may want to consider gifting yourself a fitness tracker you can wear. These trackers log your daily steps, heart rate, calories burned, and much more depending on your preferences. They are great for keeping your motivation up when you have to play the role of your own coach or trainer.
What to Do if You Have Limited Mobility
Over 18 million people in the U.S. and Canada have to deal with mobility issues for a variety of reasons. Seniors often struggle with mobility issues due to muscle loss that comes with aging, or conditions like arthritis.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to exercise and stay healthy. In fact, regular exercise could help improve your mobility while strengthening your muscles and bones. The same is true for seniors who may be recovering from a medical procedure or surgery. If you can’t see yourself putting on your running shoes any time soon, there are still safe ways to exercise and get your heart rate up, including:
*Walking while talking on the phone
*Ankle or heel stretches
*Walking up and down the stairs
This pandemic has been hard on everyone. But, if you’re a senior trying to stay safe and healthy, one of the best things you can do is to stay home and social distance. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you need to ignore your health and fitness. Keep some of these ideas in mind to make exercise a part of your everyday routine, and develop healthy habits that will last long after the pandemic has passed.