Physical activity plays a major role in the general wellbeing and life quality of people as they age. But for many seniors, this can get quite difficult as they face challenges to their mobility, including the fear of falling or age-related diseases. The good thing is that anyone can enjoy the benefits of exercise and functional fitness, including seniors. With in-home care assistance that can be found near your area, you can help your loved one get up and move.
Here are some fitness tips for seniors to stay fit even if they’re just at home.
Let them start slow
If your loved one has been sedentary for some time, it would be more helpful not to rush and allow the body to adjust to movement. You don’t want them to experience burnout or even worse, injuries.
- Have a senior start slow on their fitness plans.
- Make sure to give them light exercise routines since they aren’t that strong anymore to do strenuous activities.
- Ensure that your loved one gets checked by their health care provider before starting any exercise plan.
- The physician, or local CrossFit coach, can ensure that they are capable of doing exercises and can also provide helpful suggestions on how to start, so always ask their doctor if they can do some exercises.
Do it daily
If you want them to enjoy the benefits of exercise, encourage them to do it every day. Daily exercise comes with several benefits, including weight control, improved mood, increased energy levels, better sleep, enhancing cognition, and reduced risk to hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and more.
Here are some things to consider in encouraging a senior to exercise regularly.
- Walking daily for 30 minutes can give plenty of benefits, but at first, even five minutes of strategic movement is good.
- Over time, daily efforts will make your elderly loved one improve their pace and movement.
- Aside from allowing the body to move daily, moving it the ‘right way’ is also important.
- You may want your senior to see a CrossFit/functional fitness trainer or physical therapist to provide more help in their fitness goals.
- You want to establish exercise as a habit first and integrate it into their daily routine before thinking about the results.
- Choose activities that both of you enjoys doing.
While cardiovascular activities may be the exercise that you have in mind, there are also other activities that will help your aging loved one improve their health. One of the crucial physical ability that needs to be developed is flexibility.
Here’s some tips:
- The NIA or the National Institute in Aging suggests flexibility exercises to help seniors develop flexibility and allow more movement.
- The exercises can be done at home using the wall or a chair for balance.
- Before doing the exercises, it’s important that the senior perform warm-up exercises to prevent any injury or muscle cramps.
- If your loved one needs more motivation, you can think of participating in the routine, too.
Improve balance, strength, and endurance
In improving a senior’s mobility, balance, strength, and endurance should also be addressed on top of flexibility. If you are not sure where to start, consider the following exercises designed to improve older adults’ limited mobility.
- Light weights. The NIA suggests that seniors start with one to two pounds and slowly increasing the weight as they go. Older people should aim to exercise the major muscle groups at least two days each week for 30 minutes.
- Water aerobics. Water exercises can provide numerous health benefits for seniors without placing pressure on their joints, muscles, and bones. A senior can start with walking and proceed to other forms of water exercises depending on their ability. Look for water aerobics classes for seniors in your local fitness center.
- Yoga. The ASFA or American Senior Fitness Association suggests that yoga is an incredible tool for fighting health concerns in older people. Yoga is said to slow and even reverse the aging process. Seniors are gradually using yoga to manage pain due to health conditions like arthritis and to reduce anxiety levels. There are various senior centers, health clubs, and churches that offer yoga classes for the elderly.
It’s important that an in-home care provider take notice of the elderly’s body signs. It is normal for them to experience minor body aches and slight discomfort when starting a new fitness program. However, a senior should not be allowed to proceed with physical activity when they experience joint pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and cold sweats. Consulting a doctor at this point might be necessary.
While physical fitness can get more challenging with age, it should not be avoided either. Following a physical fitness plan for seniors is crucial in improving their overall health. Seniors with limited mobility can use the help of an in-home care provider by giving encouragement, overseeing safety and probably joining in for mutual benefits.