If you Isolate, Don’t Deteriorate!

It’s the Time of Your Life is happy to welcome Amy Temperley, Co-Creator of ‘A Mighty Good Time’ as a guest contributor and it’s great to get her input so have a read and check out her website A Mighty Good Time: Experiences for older adults. This post entitled ‘If you Isolate, Don’t Deteriorate!’ – is based on the old adage of ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’ – If you like this you might also like FRAILTY : Rest is rust, motion is lotion.

 

Do you feel like you are on a bit of a rollercoaster right now? Isolate, don’t isolate. Mask, no mask. Is it safe to get out? Should I stay inside forever?!!! For those of us who choose to stay at home a while longer, how is it impacting our health and well-being?

 

In a recent article written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN, “Humans are social creatures, not meant to live without connection to others. Many studies have found that social isolation and loneliness are not good for the brain, body or spirit. In older adults, they’re linked to symptoms such as pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety and even a shorter life expectancy. They’re also associated with cognitive decline and a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. And younger people are not immune either: loneliness and social isolation are linked to disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, higher levels of both inflammation and stress hormones — all of which can lead to problems down the road if they become chronic issues.” Staying at home has increased behaviours such as sitting for long periods of time, snacking, eating or drinking to excess, or zoning out watching the television. All of which are proven to be really bad for your health!

 

What we don’t realize is that the thing that is keeping us safe from Covid-19 may actually be making other things worse!  So what do we do? I have found that in times like this, the best thing I can do is find ways to take control of the situation. 

 

If we choose to stay at home, what should we be doing to take control of our physical, cognitive and mental well-being? 

 

Here are a few suggestions.

 

  • Get out of that chair-  Set an alarm and get up out of your chair at least once an hour. Walk around your house, do a few squats, knee raises, heel raises. Get that blood flowing again. My mother walks around the kitchen while her lunch is in the microwave! That’s 5 minutes of moving her body that she wouldn’t be doing otherwise.
  • Exercise every single day- No excuses here if you have the internet. There are hundreds of free programs online right now. Try some yoga, tai chi, seated fitness or dance programs like Zumba.  Older adults should get at least 30 minutes a day of exercise to maintain their health.
  • Don’t forget your brain health- Television can be a great escape during this time but it does nothing productive for your brain. Brains need to be exercised just like other areas of your body in order to maintain or improve. Take a class online, watch TED talks, learn a language. Consider doing puzzles, games, or reading to learn something new. Try art, writing in a journal, or interacting with family and friends by phone or online. All of these help keep your brain engaged and building new brain cells.
  • Stay Social- Social interaction is good for your brain but better for your mental health! Even if you are at-home on your own, there are ways to continue to interact with others. Such cool technology is available to you online or with your smartphone! Who would have thought that we would actually be able to have video telephones in our lifetime?! Not sure how to use those tools, how about the good old-fashioned telephone? Call someone, maybe someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Chances are they are lonely and bored as well.

 

What have I been doing during my isolation time? I have been taking fitness and meditation classes online, Zooming with my family every couple of weeks and taught myself how to turn wood on a lathe using YouTube videos. Is it perfect? No, I’d rather be out hugging and laughing with my friends but for now, I have found some joy and managed to keep my brain and body intact. Find something that works for you!

Looking for some activity ideas and don’t know where to start. A Mighty Good Time is a one-stop-shop website for activities for those 50+. You can find lots of virtual options to help you Stay Strong, Stay Smart and Stay Social!    www.amightygoodtime.com

Amy Temperley, Co-Creator, A Mighty Good Time
July 29, 2021

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