Elderly people in isolation: ‘Rest rust, so go outside” | Right away

Every week, Edwin de Vaal (47), a general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or conspicuous question from his practice. This week it says: What does isolation mean for the condition of the elderly? And how do you stay fit?

Many older people remain indoors with the Corona crisis. Could that hurt?

“Many older people are indeed afraid of infections and therefore do not go outside. They should. First of all, it is simply possible. Provided you keep 1.5 meters away and wash your hands well when you come home. But most of all, you have to get out because you’re getting worse physically if you don’t move. Especially if you’ve passed 70.”

“The condition and balance suffer when we move less. This increases the risk of falling in the elderly.”

General practitioner Edwin de Vaal

So what happens to your body?

“Rest rust,” they say. This will definitely train for your bones and muscles. They only remain strong if you use them regularly. This applies to young people, but all the more so to older people. Older people lose muscle mass faster. And you’re not going to come back so quickly.”

“The condition and balance also suffer when we move less. This increases the risk of falling and thus, for example, the fracture of a hip or wrist.”

How can you move on?

“First of all, by just going outside. Nobody says you can’t. Order twice a day for half an hour, even if you’re using a walking or walking stick.”

“Stand on one leg for a minute and a minute on the other while you brush your teeth.”

General practitioner Edwin de Vaal

Can we do something at home?

“At home, you shouldn’t just sit on the couch. Get up a lot and walk around the house. Make squats or join Olga Commandeur Netherlands on the move.”

“You can exercise your balance while brushing your teeth. If you brush your teeth, stand on one leg for a minute and stand on the other for a minute, hold on to the sink first. Then practice the balance in your foot, ankle and whole leg and body. Very good to reduce the risk of falls.”

What if I can’t move so well anymore?

“Then it’s important to maintain the mobility and condition you still have. For example, practice on the stairs in the stairwell. Hold on to the handrail. First step up and down and if a second one succeeds. With each day one step more you can even build strength. Wash your hands every time you come home, of course.”