Health is always an essential consideration for a well-lived life. In this current day and age, however, it has become more important than ever. As the world reacts to the coronavirus by asking millions of people to shelter in place for weeks and months on end, it behooves seniors, in particular, to carefully consider how to balance maintaining their physical health while simultaneously avoiding this widespread virus.
Healthy Spring Living Tips
As part of the “high risk” demographic for the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors must take extra precautions to maintain their eating, exercising, socializing, and sleeping habits, all while avoiding excessive or unnecessary contact with others. Here are a few tips to help navigate the turbulent waters of maintaining healthy living in the springtime during a pandemic.
Start on the Home Front
Before you make big plans to overhaul your diet or to set up a new fitness regimen, take some time to consider the healthiness of your surroundings. Spring is the perfect time to address the healthiness (or lack thereof) of a home environment.
It’s easy to let cleanliness slip when you’re cooped up in the same confined space over the chilly winter months, but you can improve the overall mental and physical health of your home environment by taking simple steps:
- Pulling back curtains to let in more sunlight.
- Opening the windows when it gets warm enough to let in fresh air.
- Getting an air purifier (especially if you have allergies and can’t open the windows) to help improve your home’s air quality.
- Swapping out your curtains for healthier, less dusty, easier to clean shutter alternatives.
- Planning some spring cleaning to purge dust, dirt, and mildew that may have built up over the winter.
As you clean, brighten, and freshen up your space, it will have a significant effect on both your mental and physical health as you head into the warmer months of the year.
Look for Social Distancing Exercise Alternatives
Throughout quarantine, swimming, aerobics, and other group exercise classes at local community centers are temporarily unavailable, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options to stay fit. There are multiple ways that you can keep your heart rate up:
- Finding a quiet, little-used hiking trail or walking path.
- Searching for a good fitness and aerobics workout on Youtube and then following along in your living room.
- Going for a bike ride or using an exercise bike.
- Looking for a friend or family member who has a private pool that you can use to swim.
Whatever you specifically prefer to do for exercise, it’s important to find something as an alternative to any social exercise events that may be temporarily suspended due to the virus.
Address Diet and Sleep
As you come out of the short, cold winter days, it’s important to address your diet and sleep routines as well. These can easily be thrown out of whack when you don’t have the ability to leave your home. Spring typically serves as a natural course correction, but not at this time.
If you’re still stuck inside because of quarantine, it’s easy to let your diet slip. In order to resist this natural tendency, take time to consider your current diet, and then do some research to discover what you can do differently to improve what you’re eating almost every day.
In addition, make sure that you’re giving yourself a proper amount of sleep each day. As the sun rises earlier and sets later, it’s tempting to get going early and stay up late. While some fluctuation is fine, you should always make sure you’re trying to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day.
A lack of healthy socialization was already a chronic issue for the elderly before the coronavirus shut down the world. 28% of older adults in the U.S. already live alone. Now, with everyone sheltering in place, it’s more important than ever for seniors to find ways to connect with others. A few suggestions include the following:
- Using video chat technology like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts to “virtually visit” with friends and family.
- Calling those that you love to talk with them over the phone.
- Sending emails and snail mail to maintain communication and socialize from afar.
While you should maintain your physical distance whenever possible, it’s never been easier to stay connected to others.
Set Up Telehealth
Finally, while you may have already signed up for Medicare, there’s more to proper preventative health care than simply having health insurance. Adhering to the tips listed above, things like exercising and eating well are important. In addition, you’re going to want to maintain contact with your doctor.
While you should avoid visiting the doctor’s office whenever you’re not sick, you can lean on new technology to facilitate your healthcare needs. Everything from telehealth appointments to prescription refills can be done over the phone, keeping you safe and in contact with medical professionals at the same time.
Staying Healthy This Spring
To recap, it’s important to:
- Clean your home environment.
- Maintain social distance-appropriate exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Sleep an appropriate amount of time each day.
- Socialize remotely.
- Set up preventative health measures.
If you can address these items as you head into the spring, you’ll be able to maintain your health and wellness and be ready to resume life when the quarantine lifts and normal life begins once again.