Guest article written by Luke Smith
It seems almost impossible that it has been over a year since the COVID-19 virus emerged and changed the world as we know it. On the one hand, time has seemingly passed by in a snap while we’ve been living under these pandemic conditions. On the other hand, it feels as if this strange new reality has been dragging on for far longer.
There’s no question that life under lockdown is hard. It’s very hard. But for seniors, the challenges of life amid COVID are especially great. Not only are seniors at a significantly higher risk of contracting the virus, they’re also having to further isolate themselves from friends and family to avoid this health risk.
Although there is hope on the horizon in the form of new and highly effective vaccines that are beginning to roll out, there are still difficult days ahead. The virus is surging again, and new strains are emerging. Likely, these pandemic conditions will persist for a while yet, and many seniors are feeling the tension.
But it doesn’t have to always be that way. If you are feeling the effects of these long months of lockdown, there are things you can do today to help you feel stronger, more vital, and more energetic in body, mind, and spirit.
Just because you’re social distancing at home doesn’t mean you have to be trapped on your sofa. If anything, this is precisely the last thing you should do. Sedentariness is a risk not only to your mental health but also to your physical health. It increases your risk of depression and anxiety and also lowers your immune function.
When your body isn’t moving, that also means your blood isn’t flowing as it should. That not only puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and blood clots, but it can also lead to difficulties with memory and concentration.
The good news, though, is that you don’t even have to leave the safety of your home to get active. There are entire exercise regimes you can do every day to get the blood flowing without even leaving your chair.
Feed Your Body
For many, dealing with the stress of being confined to a small space has resulted in a variety of different eating behaviors. For some, their stress culminated in the “Quarantine 15” as they indulged in comforting junk food. For others, their stress caused a lack of motivation to cook or eat much at all.
Neither behavior is a good one, especially if you’re wanting to stay in fighting form both to ward off the virus and to emerge from the lockdown fit as a fiddle. Instead, it’s imperative to maintain a healthy diet, one rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low on processed foods, sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats.
Find a Hobby
Another great way to stay sharp, engaged, and motivated is to find a new hobby or return to the one you might have neglected for too long. The best hobbies to find, however, are the ones that require both physical activity and mental engagement. This way, you can reap the bodily benefits from the physical activity while your mind stays interested.
For instance, a hobby like metal detecting offers a multitude of benefits. It’s something you can do outside while maintaining social distancing. Plus, it requires you to be physically active while you search for hidden and unexpected treasures. Additionally, you get to satisfy your intellect by learning about history, geology, metallurgy, and the art and science of metal detecting in general.
One of the most important things to remember as you aim to remain active through the duration of the pandemic is that staying safe doesn’t have to mean staying secluded. Just because you can’t physically be with your loved ones doesn’t mean you can’t connect with or enjoy them.
You just need to get creative and find alternative strategies for being “with” your loved ones. This may well be the ideal time to get your tech groove on. For instance, you can video conference with your dear ones on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet— and if you’re not sure how to use a platform like Zoom, you can easily look up instructions online. Or, better still, you can call the grandkids and get them to talk you through it!
The essential thing, though, is never to lose your social connections. Time spent with loved ones, even virtually, is the secret to a long and healthy life. Nothing will give you more energy, more motivation, or more strength than the people you love the most.
Life in a COVID world isn’t easy, especially for seniors who must maintain social distance to keep themselves safe. However, it is possible to stay strong, fit, and active in both body and mind. It just takes a bit of strategy, a touch of creativity, and a lot of comm