Staying active is an important part of being happy and healthy at every stage of life. As our loved one’s age, however, their capability to exercise can change, making it harder for them to stay active. Fortunately, there are many ways we can encourage our loved ones to be fit, whatever their abilities are. Consider these 6 ways to help your senior loved ones stay physically active:
- Consult with Their Doctor
Before they start any new routines or activities, it is wise to talk to their primary care physician. They can help you and your loved one make sure the type and amount of activity are appropriate for them. This is especially true if your loved one has health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or balance issues, that could greatly affect their physical abilities. Ask their doctor if there are any specific activities your loved one can do or should avoid.
- Start Slow and Build
Experts recommend older adults be active for at least 120 minutes each week; however, they also advise that less active adults build-up to this level slowly to reduce injury risks and promote long-term habits. If your loved one wants to be more active than they have previously, have them start with low-intensity activities for 10-20 minutes every day. As they become more comfortable, they add different types of activities in longer durations until they meet or exceed the 120 minutes guideline. Remember, any amount of exercise is good for their health!
- Adapt to Their Abilities
Your loved one’s physical abilities could greatly affect the types of activities they can do, but there are often ways to adapt activities or find new ones that will allow them to be active. For those with bad joints or arthritis, swimming and water aerobics could be a good low-impact exercises. If they have a hard time standing for long periods of time or are unable to stand at all, seated activities are available (this illustrated guide from California Mobility) and have some great options.
- Be Active Together
For some, doing activities with others can make a world of difference. Whether it’s with a friend in the neighborhood, a group of family members, or a large group fitness class, exercising with a community can be more fun. Plus, having scheduled activities with friends can help them start and maintain long-term habits. If you or your loved one is looking for senior activity groups, get in touch with a local community center or visit SilverSneakers.com.
- Add in Variety
Exercise can get boring when we do the same routine every week. Help your loved one find a variety of activities to do to keep it fun and engaging. Additionally, their health can improve by doing a combination of different exercises. The National Institute on Aging suggests seniors do four types of activities each week: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Read this article to understand each category and how they could benefit your loved one.
- Get Professional Help If Needed
If for any reason you have a hard time getting your loved one to stay active, it may be time for professionals to help. CareAparent can be your partner in keeping your loved one active and healthy at home. Under our Ready, Set, GoalsTM framework, our skilled Therapists can assess their abilities, suggest exercises, and help them build healthy habits. As we are certified by Medicare and accredited by The Joint Commission, you can trust us to keep your loved ones safe and lighten your load.