Just a few months ago, maintaining an active lifestyle was a relatively simple task. You could spend some time in a gym or fitness center, take group fitness classes, or meet up with friends for a walk. But as COVID-19 entered the United States, everything changed. Despite the added challenge, it’s still important for seniors to exercise routinely. So how do you do it? Learn how you can make the most of active retirement communities—and why active living is so important.
The Importance of Active Senior Living
Seniors’ need for exercise and activity is not a new thing. There are many benefits that come from staying active as you age. Physical activity can reduce the risk of disease, including heart attack, stroke, and even dementia. It improves muscle coordination, preventing dangerous falls. It can even have a positive effect on your mental health, especially if exercising is a social activity that you do with some friends.
Challenges of Exercising During COVID-19
You may have been practicing an active lifestyle, but things changed quickly when COVID-19 began to spread across the world. Depending on where you live in the United States, you may have received lockdown orders as early as March—and you might still be quarantined. Even in states that have fully re-opened, you may not have returned to “business as usual.”
Seniors are more at risk for severe complications from COVID-19 than other members of the population, which means that you must think carefully about what activities you’re willing to participate in. Even if it’s possible to visit the gym or participate in other physical activities, you may not be willing to risk your health by doing so.
Here’s the challenge: how do you maintain an active lifestyle during a quarantine?
Tips for Staying Active in Quarantine
Whether you live in an active retirement community or at home, there are ways that you can continue exercising to keep your body and mind healthy.
Go for a Walk
“Quarantine” can be a scary word. It may feel like you’re being ordered to lock down and stay inside with no hope of seeing the sunshine or having contact with the outside world. But this is not the case. In fact, it’s completely okay—and encouraged—to spend some time in the great outdoors.
Try to get outside at least once a day and go for a walk. If you live at home, get out and see the neighborhood or head to a local track. If you live in an active retirement community like Briarwood, go for a stroll around the grounds.
As an added bonus, going for a walk is a great way to socialize. Invite a friend to come along. Just be sure to adhere to safety guidelines: stay 6 feet away from people you don’t live with, and, if you’re in an area where social distancing is difficult, wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
If you can’t work an outdoor walk into your schedule, try to incorporate indoor walking into your routine. This is easy if you have access to a treadmill. If you don’t have exercise equipment, get creative. Watching TV? Take a lap around the living room during each commercial break!
Try a Virtual Experience
Missing your morning yoga class? Wish you had a trainer to walk you through a workout? With virtual exercise classes, you don’t have to miss a beat.
If you’re looking to go at your own pace, try pre-recorded workouts for seniors like the ones posted by the YMCA or Senior Exercises Online. These free videos will walk you through exercise routines to keep you feeling your best.
If you’re missing the experience of working out with other seniors, try a virtual class on Zoom. A virtual class means that you’ll have an instructor communicating with you in real-time and walking you through your workout. Keep in mind that the classes available to you will vary greatly depending on where you live, so be sure to do your research to find the best option.
Join a (Safe) Exercise Class
Depending on the quarantine restrictions where you live, it may be possible to attend exercise classes in-person, whether at a retirement community or local fitness center. This might be a good option to help you stay active and spend some time with your peers—but it’s important to ensure any class you attend is safe.
Before you jump into that yoga class or Zumba routine, be sure to do your research:
- Where is the class being held? Is there enough room for everyone to stay 6 feet apart? If weather permits, look for classes that are held outside.
- Are attendees required to wear masks?
- Will you have to use shared equipment? If so, how is equipment being cleaned?
When handled correctly, an in-person class can be beneficial in keeping you healthy. Just be sure that you’re comfortable with all of the precautions that are taken to keep you safe.
Keeping Fit in Active Retirement Communities
Retirement communities like Briarwood aim to keep seniors happy and healthy. COVID-19 has presented unique challenges, but senior communities around the country are continuing to provide the best support we can to all of our residents.
Briarwood prides itself on being a place where retirees can enjoy an active lifestyle. That lifestyle might look a bit different in this difficult time, but we still offer unique options to support our residents’ physical health. Right now, our residents have access to our wellness center, which includes a fitness center, pool, and live fitness classes—all with safety precautions in place.
Are you considering making the move to Briarwood? We’d love to talk with you! Reach out to us to schedule a tour. We’d be happy to show you our grounds and answer any safety-related questions you may have. Don’t wait to join the Briarwood community. Schedule your tour today!