Right now, when we are encouraged to avoid physical closeness with people besides those living with us, your regular workout routine may have been disrupted. Perhaps your main activity was a regular group exercise class or being part of a pickle ball team, and now with gym closures and other recommended practices of social distancing, these options are not currently available.
Although it might seem like a good plan to just postpone exercise for a while, we strongly discourage you from stopping physical activity, unless you are ill. There are many scientifically proven benefits to exercise including stress reduction, improved mood, better sleep, better immune function, and stronger bones and muscles to name a few. Especially during times like these, we urge you to get creative with ways to stay active, and check out the resources listed in this blog.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has the following exercise recommendations for adults: at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio-vascular exercise per week, twice a week strengthening most major muscle groups, stretching, and balance exercises. For older adults with limitations or chronic conditions, the recommendation would be: do what you can safely do, even if it doesn’t quite meet the recommendation.
Ideas for exercise:
- Walk: Walking is an ideal form of exercise. If you can walk outside and maintain social distancing, that would be best; otherwise, you might consider walking in your home. This can be walking in place (to the beat of your favorite music), walking the length of your home, or walking along with a free YouTube video like this one 1 mile walk or 3 mile walk. Make sure to find your own best pace.
- Cardio-equipment: If you are fortunate to have cardio equipment in your home, make sure to use it most or all days of the week.
- Dance: Turn on some music and dance in the living room. Invite your partner if you share your living space with them.
- Yoga: yoga has the benefit of not only providing you with physical exercise, but has the additional advantage of providing you with skills to calm your mind. Try this Gentle Yoga example from Mayo Clinic.
Also consider some of these reputable websites with additional information on staying active during this time:
https://www.exerciseismedicine.org/assets/page_documents/EIM_Rx%20for%20Health_Coronavirus.pdf (Staying active during the corona virus pandemic)
https://www.ncoa.org/blog/encouraging-older-adults-to-stay-active-and-safe-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/ Advice from the National Council on Aging-for older adults.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmk21KJuZUM7kDgg7EOsXqPKAoOnD5Q8N 4 exercise videos ranging from 10-60 minutes, specifically geared to older adults (National Council on Aging)
Join Mayo Clinic Connect’s virtual walking group: Let’s Go Walking! Join me for a virtual walking support group