Published on: May 31, 2020
Government officials and health experts have been emphasizing how important social distancing is to “flattening the curve” of coronavirus and protecting those who are susceptible to life-threatening consequences of the virus.
People with disabilities who are chronically ill are also vulnerable to the coronavirus. Individuals with conditions affecting the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are especially at risk. As a result, it is more important than ever for people with disabilities and their families to practice social distancing to keep their loved ones safe and to end the COVID-19 crisis.
How can you social distance while maintaining both an active and social lifestyle? Despite any assumptions, there are many ways you can stay healthy and maintain relationships with family and friends through social distancing.
What is Social Distancing? And Why Should You Social Distance?
The most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to limit personal contact with other people. Social distancing is keeping yourself physically distant from other people.
The CDC’s social distancing definition is “physically distancing” yourself at least six feet from other people. This means to avoid mass gatherings and crowded places. Social distancing also means limiting close contact with those who are not self-isolating - whether this be in an indoor or outdoor setting. The elderly and people with underlying health conditions - even if they are controlled- are considered high risk for severe illness from the novel coronavirus. Since people can carry and spread the virus without realizing they are infected, social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
Low Impact Exercises That Don't Require Equipment
Just because gyms and fitness centers are closed doesn’t mean that you can’t stay physically active! There are plenty of low impact exercises you can do that do not require gym equipment. Staying fit will help to keep you healthy through self-quarantine and maximize your level of independence. Some options include:
If you use a wheelchair for a part-time or full-time basis, there are plenty of exercises you can do from your own home - and wheelchair! Some examples include:
- Chair push-ups
- Forward trunk leans
- Side trunk leans
If possible, you can also use products like resistance bands to add resistance to movements like the chest fly, reverse fly, bicep curl, lat pull down, and seated chest press.
Remember to be smart! If you’re new to exercising or currently under medical care, consult with a doctor or your physical therapist before starting a new exercise routine.
Brain Teasers and Exercises to Boost Creativity
It’s not just your physical health that you must keep stimulated during self-quarantine! You also can keep your mental wits sharp with these brain exercises.
Playing challenging games such as chess and putting together puzzles are other great ways to improve your mental speed and thought processes. There are plenty of brain training games as well, such as:
- Sudoku: This number placement game helps to improve short-term memory and can be played on paper or online. There are also varying difficulties of sudoku so you can always start out with easy puzzles.
- Crossword Games: Whether online or in your local newspaper, crossword puzzles are stimulating ways to spend an afternoon.
- Luminosity: A well-known brain training online program, Luminosity has fun brain games and activities that test your mental fitness. They can be played online or downloaded on your phone with the Luminosity app.
Safe Outdoor Activities
With many parks and outdoor recreational areas closed due to COVID-19, you may be wondering where you can find safe outdoor spaces to enjoy some fresh air and activities.
Of course, many communities have specific regulations in place about outdoor activities so make sure to check to see what precautions your local government has in place first.
If trails are open, hiking is a great way to breathe in some fresh air and clear your mind. Hiking is great exercise and is a safe outdoor activity as long as you maintain a six-foot minimum between other hikers.
Even if hiking a mountain is too strenuous, there may be plenty of nature trails in your area that you can take advantage of. Walking trails and scenic hikes allow you to get up close with nature leisurely.
Explore Your Neighborhood
If you feel comfortable enough, go for a walk around your neighborhood. This can be a great opportunity to discover nearby roads or routes you’ve never explored before. You may find some nature trails in your area for a scenic hike as mentioned above!
Do Some Gardening
If you have a garden, take advantage of the warming weather by planting flowers or other shrubs. Gardening can be a very cathartic experience and can help provide physical activity too. Or, if you have yard space, use this time to spend outdoors weeding, mowing your lawn, or getting your garden ready for flowers.
Communicating with Friends and Family While Social Distancing
With modern technology, communicating with friends and family has never been easier. There are numerous free communication tools available that you can use to stay connected with friends and family - whether they’re across town or on the other side of the country!
Many of these options, such as Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime, even have video options available so you can still feel like you’re in the room with your loved ones despite being distant.
If you want to be creative and go the old-fashioned route, then communicate with your friends and family with hand-written letters!
With these creative ways to stay engaged, you can still feel connected to loved ones all while staying safe by social distancing. Additionally, If you need help navigating Social Security benefits during the coronavirus crisis, the team at Disability Experts of Florida is here to help you. Reach out and let us know what you need help with.