by Julie Randolph, Care Coordination Manager
We can all agree that COVID-19 disrupted our daily routine. We began working remotely, canceled social events, and delayed travel plans. Out of motivation to avoid the virus, older adults in particular reduced or discontinued many everyday activities. Daily outings such as shopping, participating in fitness classes, eating out, attending church services, and helping to care for grand and great grandchildren came to an abrupt stop. This general “deconditioning” can cause weakness and balance impairment. The decline of even mindless movements of bending, lifting, twisting, and walking are consequential.
Nearly three quarters of Americans who have died from the pandemic have been 65 years of age or older. However, studies are indicating that both those who contracted the virus and those who avoided infection experienced decline in mobility.
Much medical attention and expense focuses on rehabilitation after a serious fall. In a February 2022 New York Times article, Dr. Geoffrey Hoffman, a health service researcher at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, states that he would like to see Medicare underwrite extensive “pre-habilitation” services of occupational and physical therapy to prevent the falls. To recover from the effects of the pandemic it is essential to focus on rebuilding strength and balance.
Dr. Hoffman states that “You can reverse deconditioning. You can recover mobility.” However, returning to our daily routine may not be enough to regain stamina and strength lost over the long period of the pandemic.
Simple ideas to practice at home:
- Limit use of a recliner to three hours per day.
- Take a 10 minute walk outside, inside, or in place at 3 scheduled times throughout the day.
- Stretch and bend (and perhaps bicep curl some soup cans) on the hour every hour throughout the day.
Senior Services offers a multitude of interventions to recover lost mobility. It is possible to reach and maintain your maximum physical functioning through intentionality. Come and join us in fitness classes of Tai Chi, Fall Prevention and Balance, Walk 15, Yoga, Zumba, Pilates, Line Dancing, Bonesaver weight training, and our latest offering OTAGO. OTAGO is an evidence-based program proven to reduce risk of falls by 35-40%! Let’s recover strength and balance together! Click to see fitness calnedar.