Exercise is an important part of healthy aging, but seniors are facing new challenges when it comes to staying active during the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing and “Safer-at-home” guidelines make it more difficult to stick to your typical exercise routine, like going to a gym or your community center. And the fact that you’re staying at home more often means there’s a good chance you’re moving less.
The National Council on Aging says daily movement can help improve many aspects of your overall health, including blood pressure, weight management, back pain and even your emotional health. So how much exercise should seniors get? The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend healthy older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Older adults with chronic health conditions who may not be able to meet that guideline should still do their best to maintain regular physical activity.
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150 minutes of exercise might sound intimidating, maybe even overwhelming, especially given the obstacles posed by the pandemic. We hope the following tips will offer you some motivation and make it easier for seniors to stay active while at home.
Staying at home naturally means you’re not getting out as much. That means you’re probably not moving as much either. A great way to stay active while at home is simply remembering to sit less.
Turning off the television will give you one less reason to sit. Keep the TV off and work on those home projects you’ve been meaning to finish. Find some fun activities like gardening or just taking a walk around the block.
When you do watch TV, take advantage of the commercial breaks and take a lap around the house. You can even use those 2-3 minutes to get some chores done like doing the laundry or emptying the dishwasher.
If walking or standing is difficult for you, there are many exercises you can do while seated. Here’s an article from Silver Sneakers with four effective chair exercises. It even includes video demonstrations to help you do them.
MAKE A “MOVE LIST”
Planning out your daily exercises makes it much easier for seniors to stick to their goals. To make your “Move List,” ask yourself how you plan to get moving today. The list can include things like:
- Get the mail
- Take a walk
- Yard work
- Put on some music and dance
Build those activities into your daily schedule. Will you take a 20-minute walk before breakfast to get the day going? Maybe you’ll get the mail after lunch.
This video from the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) can help spark some ideas on how to get exercise with items you might already have around your house.
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