December 01, 2020

Reset your routine to stay active and healthy at home

It may feel like the world has shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it's important that you don't shut down, too, even while keeping safe at home. The risks of being inactive, even temporarily, can be serious and include deconditioning, weight gain, bone and muscle loss, and heart disease. Mayo Clinic experts are urging people to adapt their exercise program in a way that allows them to keep moving, no matter the circumstances.

The recommended stay-at-home period has inspired some people to be more active. But for others, especially older adults, this period has changed routines and decreased activity. It's estimated that Americans have decreased their daily steps by 12% in this time, according to an editorial in the June 2020 issue of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The editorial authors — as well as Mayo Clinic experts — recommend that you first talk with your doctor or physical therapist about the types and duration of exercise that are safe and beneficial for you. Some tips include leaving your home as often as is practical for walks, hikes, or socially distanced outdoor sports such as pickleball and golf.

At home, dust off unused exercise equipment such as a treadmill, hand weights, resistance bands or a medicine ball. Seek out yoga, Pilates or other fitness routines you can follow on DVD or your computer or smartphone. Some health clubs and community centers are offering indoor or outdoor versions of these classes where distancing is possible, disinfecting is taken seriously, and everyone wears...