Senior Health | How To Keep Your Mind And Body Healthy During The Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic

No matter who you are or where you live on planet earth, and no matter whether you are young, middle age, or elderly, there is little doubt that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting every aspect of your life— from teleworking at home or even losing your job, participating in virtual classrooms and meetings, separation from friends and loved ones (including your grandchildren), maintaining social distance from others, the inability to eat out in restaurants, to outright quarantining.  Health officials are telling us that the key to slowing the spread of this highly contagious and fatal disease is to observe specific public health measures, such as wearing a face mask, washing our hands for 20 seconds, and staying six feet or more away from one another to reduce our exposure to the virus.

 

The Elderly Are At High-Risk of Death When Contracting the Covid-19 Coronavirus

But with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays upon us, and reports that new vaccines are on the horizon with recent approvals for their emergency use, it appears that the whole world is standing on the precipice of going back to a life of normalcy – that is living our lives free of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.  But until normal times return, these virus safety measures remain in place until all have been immunized.  This, then, presents a perfect time to continue protecting and improving your mental and physical health while practicing social distancing.

There are steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, especially during this season of high alert — the Christmas holidays. Your entire body needs to constantly be a healthy, disease-fighting, virus-blocking defense organism. This requires that you make sure that your immune system stays in tip-top condition.

Below are some steps you can take to protect yourself during the times of COVID.

  • Wear A Face Mask

Whenever you leave home, especially for trips to the supermarket, maintaining medical and other important appointments, and when visiting friends and relatives, WEAR A FACE MASK!  Remember, social distancing is still necessary when outside the home, even with small social gatherings with family members who do not live in your immediate home.

If you’re elderly, be careful.  Wear a mask anytime you’re outside your immediate home environment. You are considered to be in the high-risk group for experiencing life-threatening symptoms if you contract the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

  • Eat Healthy

Think nutrition! The healthiest meals emphasize whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Serve them in the greatest amounts.  Meat portions should be smaller. This is a positive because doing so will save you money and help keep your dietary saturated fat in check.

When it comes to your diet, plan ahead. Visualize breakfast, lunch, and dinner for at least 5 days. What will you serve? What do you need? Consider the foods your family likes, your food preparation methods, interests and skills, and the time and energy you will have for preparing meals. If you’re working from home, it may not mean there is more time for you to cook—especially if you are now responsible for teaching your kids and doing the work your employer expects.  If you have children and grandchildren at home, include them in meal planning, preparation, and clean up while teaching them reading, writing, arithmetic and science.

Making a shopping list will go a long way in keeping you organized. Use it!  You’ll be less likely to forget items or buy impulse items. Your shopping list will help you stay stocked up on nutrition-packed foods, such as breads, grains, fruits, vegetables, sauces, soups and broths, juice, milk, eggs, cheese, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds, chicken, seafood, beef, and spices to add zing to your meals — that will stay fresh for a week or longer. Go easy on the frozen dinners because most are high in sodium, fat, and calories.

Eat healthy, nutrient rich foods

Limit your purchases of tempting foods like chips, sodas, cookies, and ice cream. They are high in empty calories and run up your grocery bill.

  • Get Plenty of Exercise

Physically active individuals usually live longer than those who are inactive or those who may have a chronic disease. Inactivity is considered to be a significant risk factor and threat to your life just like high blood pressure, smoking, or high cholesterol. Consequently, during COVID times, it is essential for you to remain physically active and maintain a regular exercise routine.

The benefits of physical exercise are:

  1. Stress and anxiety relief: Stress and anxiety are rising with the current pandemic, and it can lower your immune response. Exercising releases chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin and endorphins which can help improve your mood, reduce the risk of depression and cognitive decline, and delay the onset of dementia.

2. Immune support: Regular exercise helps your immune system function.

3. Weight management: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that regular exercise combined with a balanced nutritious diet helps with weight management. Excess weight is associated with higher health risks.

Older adults (age 65 and older) are considered to be in the high-risk group for experiencing life-threatening symptoms if they contract the Covid-19 Coronavirus. Physical exercise is also beneficial to those with chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and compromised immune systems. Regular exercise reduces health risks and prevents disease, reduces blood pressure as well as the risks of serious health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke when combined with a well-balanced nutritious diet.

Bone, muscles, balance, and flexibility:  physical exercise also improves bone and muscle strength, and increases balance and flexibility. This is important for everyone, especially older adults because it can prevent falls and injuries. As for children, it aids with growth and development and sets healthy habits for the future.

You can get started right now, with the exercise video below. It is a great way to boost your mind and body during the COVID-19 pandemic without leaving your home.

A Great Workout for the Elderly and Beginners!

There are different ways to think about a program or work-out that doesn’t require you to be an expert on the subject. The most important thing for you to remember is to focus on the:

  • Lower body: Waist down. Glutes, thighs, calves, and feet.
  • Upper body: Waist up. Core, back muscles, shoulders, and pecs.
  • Full-body: The whole thing. This is trying to actively use your whole body to perform the movements.

Make sure you work the three parts of the body each for any given work-out and try to balance them throughout the week.

  • Think Positive and Stay Motivated

 A positive mental attitude is vital to getting through this pandemic, physically and mentally.  Practice positive stress management strategies. You can do such activities as walking your dog, calling friends, soak in the tub, or cuddle your kids. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

Stay motivated! Watch motivational videos like the one below. Watch and listen!

Stick with your routine as much as you can. Go to bed and get up in the morning on your usual schedule. Eat meals at regular times. Find ways to exercise away from the gym, like doing yoga in the living room, trimming the hedges, having a scavenger hunt in the backyard with your kids, or just tossing a ball or playing tag as a family.

Manage boredom by staying busy and engaged.  Resist the temptation of going in and out of the refrigerator or mindlessly watching TV. Enjoy your hobbies, such as reading, cooking, creating videos with your kids, start a scrapbook, help your kids or grandkids with their virtual schoolwork, and stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for many people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on can be stressful.   Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Stay healthy and God Bless!

References: 

http://www.cdc.gov. Covid-19 Coronavirus Disease. Your Health. Coping With Stress. Pandemics Can Be Stressful. Centers For Disease Control & Prevention. Updated Dec. 11, 2020.

iuhealth.org. Thrive By IU Health. https://iuhealth.org. Thrive.ideas-for-staying-healthy-during-covid-19. Indiana University Health. May 11, 2020.

http://nutrition.org. How.-to-stay-fit-and-healthy-during-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic. American Society for Nutrition. ASN Contributor. March 18, 2020.

http://nutrition.org. Making-health-and-and-nutrition-a-priority-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic. American Society for Nutrition. ASN Contributor. April 19, 2020.

http://time.com. 5804130/How to Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy While COVID-19 Has You Stuck at Home. Jamie Ducharme. March 18, 2020.

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