We often take physical independence for granted because shopping, attending events, and interacting with others offers at least a basic level of regular movement.
Isolating at home poses a hidden danger of losing physical independence due to lack of physical activity. Consider what movements you would do on a normal day – get into and out of a car, walk, lift and carry groceries, and interact with others.
Two questions can reveal your risk.
- Do you have “reserves” of strength, mobility, & endurance?
- Are you replacing your usual activity with intentional exercise?
Low physical reserves (struggling with daily activities or fatiguing easily even before isolating), plus inactivity places you at high risk for losing physical independence.
For example, do you need your arms to help rise from a chair? This often results from loss of leg strength, but you can fight back! Physical activity can help maintain strength at any age.
Strengthen your leg muscles to make it easier to rise from a chair, get into and out of a car or tub, and walk. For example, when you sit down, stand up and sit down several more times (be prepared to explain yourself to friends)! Repeat this exercise throughout the day. This Elevator exercise also improves leg strength.
*Follow physician advice on exercise
With feet comfortably apart and arms relaxed, stand up slowly by imagining you’re an elevator rising 3 floors. Stop briefly by holding each position for a slow 2 counts. Keep breathing normally! Return to a seated position making the same “stops” at each position. Repeat 4x’s.
©Brilliant Aging, 2020 Brilliant Aging provides healthy aging resources and consulting.