Syracuse Area Health – Strasburger Orthopaedics

Supporting Your Joint Health While Social Distancing: A Guide for Seniors

Are you a senior struggling to stay active while trying to maintain social distancing? Maybe you have a beloved senior in your life who is worried about stiffening, aching joints and missing being out in the warm weather. 

Restricting person-on-person contact makes sense for seniors trying to stay free of the coronavirus, but it can also cause feelings of disconnectedness from other areas of health. Staying moving is a huge part of joint health, so how do you create an exercise plan that is safe for your physical mental and emotional state?

Here are 5 ways to get moving again, and 4 tips for staying safe.

1. Stay strong

You don’t have to go to the gym to work out and strengthen your joints. Use common household items to up your exercise game at home. Soup cans may be used for arm curls, and resistance bands for leg lifts.  Also check out our informative blog for core strengthening exercises that are low impact and senior-safe.  

2. Walk on

You can still go out and get your mile a day in, just stay out of crowded indoor spaces like malls or gyms. Look for a place you can maintain the appropriate 6 feet of distance and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. Time your walks for early morning or late evening to cut down on foot traffic around you and protect yourself from the worst of the heat. 

3. Go slow

If you haven’t exercised in a while and your joints are stiff, concentrate on easy exercises that won’t overstress you. These eight easy exercises for arthritic hips can be helpful if you’re challenged by limited range of motion. 

4. Join in

Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi can all help improve balance, joint flexibility, and overall mobility. Consider joining a virtual group class hosted by an senior center or an exercise studio in your area, or anywhere else – you’ll never have to leave your living room!

5. Dance off!

Dance activity classes for seniors can make motion fun. Dance instruction videos viewed online can get you moving and improve your mental and emotional health while gently flexing your joints. 

Staying safe when exercising alone

If you’re live alone and are worried about an injury, consider the following steps to stay safe:

  • Check with your doctor first. Dr. Strasburger can help you choose exercises that are best for your current joint conditions.
  • Let someone know your plans. It’s a good idea to check in with a friend or family member when you start your workout and again when you finish. If you miss the second check-in, someone can come check on you!
  • Wear the right shoes. Make sure you have skid proof footwear and workout on a stable, even surface so you don’t fall.
  • Stay hydrated. Especially in summer months, dehydration can sneak up on you fast. That goes double if you’re exercising outside.

These tips can help you keep your joints flexible even while social distancing. If your joint pain is making it hard to exercise, contact our office. Dr. Strasburger can help. 

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