Question:   How can I stay healthy and fit while isolated at home?

I commend you for wanting to stay fit at home. It is easy to get lethargic when it feels that there is no reason to get up and dressed for the day. However, the more we can stick to a schedule and stay active the better for our bodies and our minds. You may have heard the expression “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well, these days the expression going around is “dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have.” I think in some ways, while this sounds funny, it is true that we feel better when we dress for the day we wish we were having.

There are many great ways to stay fit at home. It all starts with nutrition. Have a breakfast that incorporates protein, dairy and whole grains, if possible. If you need assistance getting food at this time you can contact the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging at 805-477-7300. A good breakfast will give you the energy you need to exercise.

There are a lot of exercises you can do at home. If you have access to the internet you can search for workout videos in the style you prefer. However, this is not the time to start a new strenuous routine. You want to avoid any injuries. Stick with the type of exercises you did before you were isolated at home but just amend them to be done at home. If you are used to using weights at a gym, then hold onto canned foods instead of weights. If you are used to long walks, then either continue these in non-populated areas or try walking in place inside your home.

There are many simple moves you can even do while seated if you are worried about your balance. Always start with some easy stretching and listen to your body. If a move hurts you in any way, then stop or slow it down.

If you need motivation, consider asking a friend to be your workout buddy. While you can’t exercise together right now you can still support each other and help stay on track. You can set a time each day to check in and see what you each did to stay fit. Studies show accountability helps people keep their fitness goals on track.

When you exercise, your body releases a chemical called endorphins. This chemical will trigger a positive and happy feeling in your brain. By incorporating some physical activity into your day, it will improve your mood. Another benefit is that you should sleep better. All of this reduces stress as we navigate this current difficult time of isolation.

I encourage you to start a routine and stick to it. Hopefully you will feel the benefits and that will keep you motivated. Decide to make one small change to your routine each day towards a healthier overall lifestyle. Small changes can make a big difference in our fitness for both our bodies and our minds.

Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at

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