Seniors: How to Stay Active, Healthy During COVID-19 Crisis

Senior woman exercising at home
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Seniors are among the most vulnerable in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Older people are at least twice as likely to have a serious case of COVID-19, according the early data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The immune system, as we age, is less efficient at fending off disease and infection. COVID-19 makes it more likely that an older person’s respiratory system or lungs will shut down.

During this crisis, seniors should:

  • Avoid having visitors, especially anyone who might be sick.
  • Practice social distancing when going out.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.

These pre-coronavirus rules of prolonging your life, supplied by Hartford HealthCare’s GoodLife Fitness program, are particularly important now:

Your Diet: Let’s hope panic-buying at grocery stores ends soon. Try to get the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, minimally processed whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, lean meats and fish.

Drink More Water: Some suggest drinking the classic eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, others say to take your body weight, divide it in half and drink that many ounces. What we do agree on is that drinking water — lots of water — is a must-have healthy habit.

Water is our body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of our body weight according to the Mayo Clinic, water should be our drink of choice over sugary, calorie-laden drinks.

Because water is our body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 perfect of our body weight, it should be our drink of choice over sugary, calorie-laden drinks.

Move More and Move Often: Adding constant movement throughout your day is very important. Stand up every half hour if you work at a computer, lap your house while talking on the phone, add a short nighttime walk — it doesn’t matter how you do it, just move more!

Stay Positive: Thoughts are powerful, so be sure to pay attention to yours. The Mayo Clinic reports a number of health benefits associated with positive thinking, including increased life span, lower rates of depression, greater resistance to the common cold and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, among many other things. Make it a goal each day to be more positive than the day before.

Stay Strong: Too often people get excited when they exercise most days of the week — with some type of cardio. Yet they forget about strength training. Not building and maintaining muscle could be one of the biggest mistakes related to your health. Not only do muscles keep our bodies functional, mobile and strong, but they also help burn calories even when you’re not working out. “Strength training” does not mean you need to become a body builder and lift heavy barbells. Light free weights, resistance bands or even using your own body weight with push-ups, lunges and squats all work in the home.

For more information about Hartford HealthCare’s GoodLife Fitness program, click hereFor more information on the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network, click here.

Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

Questions? Call our 24-hour hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600). 

Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.


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