Social distancing helps keep our loved ones and us safe by reducing our chances of getting COVID-19. Unfortunately, there are unintended consequences that can occur as a result of isolation, especially for older adults who live alone or in some form of assisted living facility.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 recommendations have reduced visits, community dining, and group activities for facility residents. As these older adults miss opportunities for group exercise classes or events they typically enjoy, they may not be getting the physical activity they need.
Lack of physical activity can lead to loss of muscle strength at a rate of around 12% a week! Research published in the Journal of Physiology shows that just two weeks of inactivity can cause a loss of strength in older adults that can be difficult to regain.
On the other hand, physical activity and exercise can prevent this decline. According to a study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, physical activity and exercise also offer many benefits for older adults. These benefits include improving or delaying the loss of physical function and movement and reducing the risk of fall-rated injuries.
Physical activity improves quality of life and:
Slows the physical changes due to aging.
Optimizes body composition.
Supports mental and cognitive health.
Increases life span.
Reduces the risk for falls that can result in injury, hospital stays, or even death.
Can help lower the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Helps people who have chronic disease manage their health.