Regular exercise can help older adults reduce their risk of developing conditions like diabetes and heart disease while also keeping their bones, joints, and muscles strong and healthy to minimize mobility and flexibility issues. If your aging loved one has been mostly sedentary in the past, he or she may need some assistance getting into the habit of exercising on a regular basis. Here are six tips to keep in mind as you help your loved become more active.
1. Check with the Doctor First
Before encouraging your loved one to do any type of regular exercise, schedule a visit with his or her doctor. This way, you can get some tips about what kind of exercise is appropriate while also finding out about any limitations or precautions you’ll need to keep in mind.
Once seniors are cleared to engage in exercise, they may need someone to assist with these physical activities. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care. Columbus Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
2. Start Slowly
If your loved one is just getting into regular exercise, encourage him or her to go slow at first while getting used to being more active. One way to do this is with daily walking, which can involve:
• Taking short walks around the neighborhood
• Walking in an indoor environment like a shopping mall
• Walking on a treadmill
3. Take Advantage of Senior-Specific Classes
Seniors often prefer to get regular exercise at a pace that’s comfortable with other people their age. Encourage your loved one to take advantage of local exercise classes specifically tailored to the needs of older adults. Classes of this nature might involve:
• Low-impact aerobic exercises
• Yoga and other gentle forms of exercise
• Modified forms of exercise presented in fun, modified ways with chairs, assistive devices, or music
Older adults who cannot drive may need transportation to attend exercise classes. Homecare experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
4. Suggest Water-Based Forms of Exercise
Older adults sometimes avoid exercise because it’s simply too painful for them. If this is the case for your loved one, encourage him or her to try water-based forms of exercise. The natural buoyancy of water eases stress on muscles and joints while still stimulating the same muscle groups targeted by land-based exercises. Water-based exercises that tend to be beneficial and safe for seniors include:
• Water aerobics
• Water walking
• Aqua yoga
• Arm and torso stretches performed in water
5. Recommend Activities that Can Be Considered Exercise
Not all exercise has to involve the gym, classes, or other structured activities. There are many enjoyable hobbies and tasks that can effectively stimulate important muscle groups and joints. Activities of this nature that could be considered exercise include:
• Working in a small backyard garden
• Playing with a family pet
• Sculpting, painting, woodworking, and other hobbies that target fine motor muscles
6. Exercise Together
One of the most effective ways to help your loved one start to exercise is to do it together. You can take classes, work with a trainer, or simply set aside certain times of the day to exercise. You’ll also be able to provide mutual encouragement and support while enjoying the same benefits your loved one will get from exercising on a regular basis.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Columbus, OH, families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. To learn more about our premier respite care, give us a call today at (614) 481-8888.