Staying healthy with Bold during COVID-19
To our Bold community: the CDC has updated their recommendations for older adults to help reduce the infections from the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to look through the recommendations on the CDC’s site for information on how to protect yourselves and your loved ones during this outbreak.
As we prepare for a possibly extended outbreak, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite ideas for staying balanced, feeling strong, and aging Bold as we all spend a little (or a lot!) more time at home.
Tip #1: Stay active, but avoid crowds.
“Staying active helps us mentally and physically,” says Lauren Foster, Bold’s Head of Research and Clinical Operations. “When we invest in our health we bolster not only our own resilience, but also the resilience of the community around us.”
The World Health Organization recommends that older adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (aka, heart pumping! exercise) and 2+ days of muscle-strengthening activities each week. That may sound like a lot but don’t worry! 150 minutes works out to 2.5 hours, or about how long you would spend watching a favorite movie. Aim for 5 days of 30 minute exercises a week and you’ll be doing great in terms of keeping moving and staying fit. Here are some tips to get started.
And get ready for a bonus – working out brings endorphins! Biologically, endorphins are chemicals released by your brain after physical activity that minimize your perception of pain and bring on happy, positive feelings. If you’re cooped up at home and going a bit stir-crazy, those endorphins might be just what you need to start feeling better.
Not currently recommended? The gym, or any place with large groups of people. To get in your recommended amount of daily activity try out Bold – you can change up your daily exercise routines to keep things interesting, and work different muscle groups to build strength.
Tip #2: Stay connected – but not too close.
“Loneliness is always a concern,” says Lauren. “Feeling connected to our friends, family, and community improves our mental health and wellbeing and can get us through tough and uncertain times.”
Given the CDC recommendations for avoiding groups of people, here are some of Team Bold’s favorite ways to feel close, even without being in the same room:
Have a regular coffee date – over the phone. Schedule a standing, every day coffee-and-phone-call with a friend.
Virtual Book Clubs. Just because social distancing is in effect doesn’t mean you need to cancel this month’s book club. Get everyone on a tool like Zoom (it’s free!) and you’ll be chatting in no time.
Stay connected on social media. When you’re apart, staying connected on social media can be a great way to feel closer. If you want to pop by and say hi, we’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – and we promise to share lots of inspiring and helpful exercise-related info!
Tip #3: Think about your whole health.
“The news feels scary right now,” says Lauren, “And it can feel like it’s all about the coronavirus. While it’s important to protect ourselves from the spread of the virus, it’s also important to continue to think about our whole health – from how much we’re sleeping, to continuing to eat healthy fruits and vegetables, and to get enough exercise to build strength and stay balanced.”
This is really important, agrees Dr. Randall Stafford, Medical Advisor at Bold, and Professor of Medicine and Director of Director of the Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices at Stanford University.
He says: “Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a key priority. I am worried, however, about unintended consequences. Public health may suffer if reduced physical activity levels result from people avoiding public places. Particularly for older adults who are at higher risk of COVID-19, reduced physical activity and reduced fitness will be harmful. Rates of chronic disease (such as diabetes and heart disease) will likely increase if the population becomes more sedentary.
“While learning new behaviors to protect ourselves against infection, everyone should also strive to continue high impact, positive health activities. These include: 1. sleeping at least 7 hours per night, 2. eating a heart-healthy diet that emphasizes fibrous vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and 3. regular exercise with a goal of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.”
We’re here to help you age Bold!