As closures and shutdowns continue, many of us are trying to figure out how to do fitness at home. Without workout classes or gym buddies, it can be hard to remain motivated. In this guest post, personal trainer and health expert Jyl Steinback shares easy and unique alternatives, especially for older folks, to stay active every day.
Disruption is the word that best describes 2020. Gyms slammed shut. Mall walking went away. Group activities — like yoga and Pilates — fizzled.
These are the worst things that could happen during a pandemic. Staying fit — particularly for Baby Boomers — is one of the keys in fighting off infections. So, how does one stay fit during these disrupted days?
Go outside and play. The Mayo Clinic says that outdoor activities pose a lower risk of the spread of COVID-19 than indoor activities do.
So, put on your walking shoes, grab your walking stick and pedometer, and get going. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise as we get older. It’s easier on the joints than running but doesn’t burn quite as many calories. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly. A 20-minute after dinner walk each day with friends or family can help you:
- Increase stamina
- Boost your metabolism, immune system, and energy levels
- Improve your balance, mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion
The social benefits of exercising can’t be overstated, and pickleball is a great way of both socializing and exercising. A recent study shows that pickleball can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and fitness levels. Another study indicates that pickleball tournament participants had a lower risk of depression, too. When played outdoors, it can be done safely if you follow new COVID-19 guidelines.
When weather gets in your way, move indoors. Got a minitrampoline? Jump on it while watching your favorite movie. Like walking, bouncing is easier on your joints than running.
Pick up some inexpensive exercise equipment, such as resistance bands. Two or three workouts per week with resistance bands build:
- Strength, endurance, and skeletal muscles
- Balance and flexibility
- Heart and lung function
While you are stuck indoors, you can dance like nobody is watching. From cardio Latin dance to low-impact dance workouts, you can find them on YouTube.
Did you know that hand clapping may provide numerous health benefits? Acupressure theory says that 28 of the body’s 340 pressure points are in our hands. Clapping your hands, particularly along with songs, has revealed a direct link between clapping and the development of important cognitive and motor skills.
So, try some of the activities above and give yourself a round of applause.
Homeopathic practitioner Jyl Steinback is executive director of Shape Up US, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing obesity and empowering children and families to lead happier, healthier lives. She has worked in the health and wellness industry for more than 35 years as a personal trainer, educator, and lifestyle guru selling more than 2 million books that educate readers on proper nutrition, exercise, and healthy living. In her latest cookbook, “Think Outside the Lunchbox,” Steinback offers 250 nutritious plant-based recipes that families will love. Contact Jyl at Jyl@ShapeUpUs.org or visit her websites for more information.