Stanford helps seniors exercise from home

If you've been struggling to stay in shape during the pandemic, you're not alone. But a group of Bay Area seniors are meeting the challenge with the help of technology.

After months of COVID-19 isolation, Virgil and Trish Klein were getting anxious to stretch their legs.

"We were looking for a way to reconnect with the outside world," explained Virgil.

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Enter occupational therapist Erinna Poon and her team at Stanford Health Care. For the past several months, she's been leading Zoom-based classes designed to help cooped up seniors maintain their balance both physically and emotionally.

"They've mentioned with COVID that they're stuck at home and have very little interaction," said Poon.

During the session, they'll stretch their minds and bodies together. The class is organized around a Bingo game with exercise and quizzes peppered in between. The Stanford team says the mixed game and exercise class is official known as Bingocize.

"We do everything from hands to following directions, working on our balance, so I think there are so many fun aspects to it," added Poon.

Modeled on fall prevention classes, the goals are balance, awareness and flexibility. But for many of the seniors, it's also a chance to be a part of a group setting, offering a break from the isolation of the COVID-19 quarantines even if it's just being part of a big Brady Bunch square.

"Being able to see them, and in all these different home settings, it helps a lot. It helps reduce the cabin fever," said Klein.

Perhaps it's a chance to stay primed for the day they can stretch their potential in the kind of exercise classes they're used to.

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