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The Damaging Effects to Seniors and Children
While coronavirus lockdowns may have helped reduce the spread of the disease through the American population, lockdowns have also had a serious impact on health and fitness. In many cases, people have not been able to visit the gym or exercise outdoors in fear of catching the virus. People have become more sedentary and are eating more since they are at home for longer periods of time. As a result, fitness is beginning to slide, and people’s overall health is being affected.
While lockdowns and other mitigation techniques remain an important means of preventing the spread of the virus, they could themselves be causing a health crisis. Deven Patel, a health and fitness expert, explains how the COVID lockdowns may have the unintended effect of damaging public health, especially among vulnerable groups like seniors and children.
Impacts on Physical Health
During the COVID pandemic, people have become far more sedentary. Anxiety about going outside and exposing themselves to the virus has led to stress eating. Many people are not even making small changes to their activity patterns to protect their health, including avoiding too many processed foods and climbing the stairs rather than using the elevator. Many people are even experiencing impacts on their sleep as a result of the increased stress and lowered physical activity levels.
As a result of this sedentary behavior pattern, people are experiencing greater levels of dangerous chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Ironically, all of these diseases make a person more subject to the serious health effects of COVID-19. People are caught in a Catch-22 where they are avoiding exercise to stay away from the pandemic but making themselves more vulnerable to serious illness and death at the same time.
People also have fewer opportunities to exercise outdoors during the pandemic. In some states, even public parks have been closed, removing an avenue for people to exercise safely in a protected environment. Closing parks and public areas should be avoided during the next coronavirus lockdown, according to Deven Patel.
Impacts on Mental Health
The negative effect of extended isolation, especially among our elderly population, has become severe. When people are forced into isolation to avoid catching the coronavirus, they are removed from the support system made up of their friends and family. Grandparents cannot see their grandchildren, and they wonder how much time is left to them to see them in the future. Young parents are unable to get help with childcare, leaving them stressed and overwhelmed while at the same time they are working from home. All of these factors add up to a population that is unhealthy, unhappy, and in danger of serious mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
How Children are Affected
Anxiety and depression rates among children have skyrocketed during COVID lockdowns. Children can no longer see their friends, and they are not going outside to engage in physical activity. They are becoming addicted to their electronic screens, and many parents see no alternative to letting them stay on their computers or tablets for many hours per day.
This situation could lead to a generation of anxious, depressed children who have no true enjoyment of life. This does not bode well for the future of our population. It is hoped that children will be resilient and that they will be able to bounce back after the pandemic’s effects have ended sometime in the new year.
Ways to Prevent Lockdown-Related Problems
Fortunately, there are many ways in which people can improve their health and their lives in general during COVID lockdowns. The key to everything is eating a healthy diet. Organic food is preferred because it carries more nutrients and fewer harmful ingredients like pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. When people eat a healthy diet and keep their weight under control, they will be less likely to experience severe effects if they do catch the virus.
Children and adults should be exercising indoors if they can’t get outside. There are hundreds of exercise videos online, and home exercise equipment like stationary bikes have become very popular. Exercising as a family can help children by showing them a positive example of how to take care of their health.
Family togetherness is still important, even if we cannot always see our loved ones in person. While many people are tired of Zoom calls and FaceTime meetings, these remain important lifelines for seniors and isolated people. Getting a new electronic device for your elderly parent and teaching them to use it can help them feel less isolated. Children and grandparents should especially be encouraged to get together in this way.
Surviving the Pandemic
Mask-wearing, social distancing, and handwashing remain three of the best ways to avoid catching the pandemic but staying healthy should be considered as a preventative measure as well. Deven Patel wants to remind everyone that preserving their health can have a positive effect well into the future. COVID will someday be conquered, and it is necessary to keep living a healthy life despite lockdown requirements.
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