Staying at home during the current coronavirus pandemic is the best way that older adults and those under 65 with underlying medical conditions can reduce their risk of infection. At the same time, home confinement and inactivity can result in the loss of muscle strength, mental alertness, and increase the risk of falls and injuries. Finding ways to keep active helps seniors to retain their independence and to stay healthy.

Medicare recipients of all ages need to review their plan benefits to determine if they can get assistance with home visits for physical therapy. Caregivers can also help seniors and those with functional restrictions to establish fitness programs for a healthy lifestyle that are fun, easy, and free to do using everyday items found around the house. Several key elements for a successful exercise program include the following tips:

  • Start slowly before increasing the length and intensity of a personal program
  • Wear comfortable, loose, breathable clothing for workouts
  • Wear the appropriate indoor or outdoor gym shoes for the area where you are exercising
  • Remember to drink plenty of water throughout your activity to keep you hydrated

Fitness Tips for People
The National Institute on Aging (NOA) recommends exercises that benefit endurance, balance, strength, and flexibility for older adults and those under 65 with underlying medical conditions. There are free on-line exercise programs available for individuals with or without mobility issues.

Exercising at home can be easy and fun and may result in better physical fitness. It is important to remember that Medicare recipients with health issues such as arthritis, lung diseases, heart conditions, or diabetes are encouraged to discuss their plans for physical activities with their personal physicians before starting any exercise program.

More Ways to Stay Active
Older adults and those with underlying health conditions can remain active and safe while staying home to avoid the risk of coronavirus infections even when a regular workout routine is not convenient. People can do one or more of the following tips on a daily basis.
• Sit less by walking around a room while talking on the phone
• Use an adjustable digital flexible finger and hand exerciser while watching television
• Start decluttering projects to clear out old items you no longer need from drawers, closets, and cupboards
• Take short strolls around the outside of your house, walk up and down your driveway a few times daily, or walk along the sidewalk while keeping social distancing from other individuals
• Walk around the house or up and down a flight of stairs a few times each day for aerobic benefits and to keep muscle strength

Tips for Staying Mentally Alert
• Play card games with other household members or your caregiver
• Work on a beautiful puzzle
• Play bingo with other household members or your caregiver
• Work on a crossword puzzle
• Start a new project such as painting, ceramics, or knitting
• Now that you are staying at home, you have the time to call and chat with friends or family
• Being in the house means you have more time to read a new book or magazine
• Organize or re-organize your family albums

Tips for Staying Healthy
• Remember to take your medications and vitamins on time every day
• Avoid gaining weight by eating fresh fruits and salads
• Start a small indoor herb or spice garden and then enjoy eating the results of your efforts
• Have prescriptions and groceries delivered to your home so that you avoid trips to the stores that bring you into contact with strangers
• Dress appropriately for the weather when going outdoors and wear a face mask
• Clean frequently touched surfaces daily
• Wash your hands often throughout the day

With a little imagination and minimal effort, seniors can easily stay fit and healthy while sheltering at home to reduce the risk of infection during the coronavirus pandemic.

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