by Ruth Griffiths
Many of the people in my adult fitness class have been attending faithfully for more than a decade. It’s become a healthy habit for them to start the day with group exercise.
But then came COVID.
The restrictions imposed on us to help fight the spread of the new Corona virus have drastically reduced opportunities for group fitness. We must wear a mask, remain three metres apart and reduce the number of people in the class.
Some people have chosen not to go to the gym or to fitness classes until there is less risk. I understand that completely. Although keeping fit helps to reduce our risk of getting sick, many of us have conditions that make us more likely to become more severely ill if we develop COVID-19. In those cases, self-isolation is the most effective way to avoid hospitalization.
But sometimes, even in non-pandemic situations, our routine changes and we find it difficult to maintain our fitness program. It’s hard to get back on track. The National Institute on Aging offers these tips for overcoming roadblocks to fitness for older adults:
- You’re away from home — When you visit friends and relatives bring along your exercise clothing or equipment (resistance band, bathing suit or walking shoes). Get out and see the sights on foot rather than sitting in a car.
- Caring for a relative keeps you at home — Work out to an exercise video. Ask a family member or friend to come over so you can go for a walk.
- Your usual exercise buddy moves away — Invite another friend to go with you on your daily walk. Ask other older adults in your area where they go for walks or what physical activity resources are available nearby. Joining an exercise class is a great way to meet other active people.
- You move to a new community — Look for activities that match your interests and abilities. In Prince Albert, check the website citypa.ca and search for PA Together At Home for free workout videos and listings of current fitness opportunities.
- Sickness kept you out of action for a few weeks — Wait until you feel better and then start your activity again. Go slow. Build your fitness level in baby steps.
- You are recovering from surgery — Talk with your doctor about specific exercises and activities you can do safely when you’re feeling better. Start slowly and gradually build up your activities as you become stronger.
The best thing about working out is that it gives you energy for more activities. When it becomes a habit, you’ll never want to give it up.