6 Tips to stay active and connected while maintaining “Physical (not social) Distance”

Active Aging Research Team @ UBC
3 min readMar 18, 2020


By Callista Ottoni

As we are well aware, the Canadian Government has requested everyone limit social contact, or as we prefer, physical proximity, to stop the spread of COVID-19. How then, can we stay active, and not feel too isolated? Here are 6 simple tips from the Active Aging Research Team.

1. Call someone to be your activity buddy:

Research shows that being accountable helps us stay active. Recruit a friend (on the phone), with whom you will share your physical activity goals for the week. You could even arrange to go for a walk at the same time and chat on the phone as you walk. Or, just schedule a call to check-in on your progress.

2. Deep clean your house!

When it comes to being active, small activities, cumulated throughout the day, count just as much as an organized activity. Now is the perfect time to do that extra dusting and floor polishing. Maybe this is the year you will get to spring cleaning!

3. Walk to drop-off groceries on the doorstep of your neighbour in need.

If you aren’t in a high-risk health category, check-in with your neighbours to see if anyone needs a few groceries or home supplies. Walk to deliver the groceries on their doorstep. If you have the energy, continue to walk around the block.

4. Discover new online resources.

These days, there are many free stretching, exercise, and relaxation classes online. Use your favourite search engine and enter a keyphrase, such as, “free online exercise programs for seniors.” Read the results, and pick one that looks right for you.

5. Relax your breath.

This may seem simple, but stressful circumstances can lead to shortened breath — this affects our whole body. Being mindful of our breath can relax our nervous system and increase calm.

Try this:

1. Find a comfortable seated position

2. Put one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen

3. Take a few slow breathes in and out. Feel both your chest and belly expand.

4. If you don’t feel dizzy (in which case stop immediately and resume normal breathing), trying breathing in while counting to 4 in your head, then breathe out while counting to 4 in your head.

6. Stay Connected with your Friends and Family

Aside from keeping active, research shows that keeping socially connected is vital for our wellbeing. There is no need to be a stranger! Keeping physical distance from others does not mean you must be disconnected. Make a list of people that you love connecting with regularly- or someone who you would like to catch-up with- and give them a call! If you have a regular coffee date with a friend, keep it up by sharing a cup of joe over the phone or via video chat. Have you ever been to a virtual dinner date? Cook the same meal as a friend or family member simultaneously, and enjoy it together virtually.

While we all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, we hope these tips help keep you active and connected.



Active Aging Research Team @ UBC

Empowering people to live independent, active and connected lives as they age. Community-based research and evaluation team at University of British Columbia.