There are innumerable advantages for elderly who exercise on a regular basis. This includes having a much stronger immune system and being more successful in warding off illnesses and medical conditions. Working out frequently also helps older individuals maintain their muscle strength, flexibility, and dexterity. To top it all off, there are plenty of mental and emotional benefits as well.
Unfortunately, far too many senior citizens lead sedentary lifestyles and barely get any exercise at all. So, what can you do to help get them back on track? Well, here are some ideas to try out:
Make Them Feel Safe
One of the main reasons that elderly people don’t move around as much as they should is because they are afraid. This is often because they are not as stable on their feet as they once used to be. This can make the prospect of even getting up seem daunting. The first thing that you will need to ensure is that they are provided with the necessary support if they have weak muscles or are unsteady. Oftentimes, a doctor will suggest a walking cane or a similar walking assistive device. This affords the elderly a stable support system that they can take with them everywhere that they go. Of course, to make certain that they are safe, you should check that the older person knows how to use their walking cane properly.
The last thing that you want to do is to tax or overwhelm someone who is quite old. This can put them off from exercising completely. So, it is always good to begin with minor steps. First, get them to take a twenty-minute walk in the morning. Once they have gotten used to this, urge your elderly friend or family members to go for another stroll in the evening. After they have built up their strength a bit, you can begin introducing them to other activities.
Try Low Impact Exercises
It is important to remember that older people can injure themselves easily. Not to mention, their joints can become more inflamed and painful if too much stress is put on them. This is why it is a good idea to get them involved in low impact exercises. These include water aerobics, yoga, tai chi and so on. This way, older individuals will not feel as though they are being overtaxed and are a lot more likely to continue with the workouts.
Have an Exercise Plan
Let’s face it, if you had to do the same old boring exercises day in and day out, you would get rather frustrated. This is why you should always look to keep things interesting. An exercise plan can help with that. You can make sure that each day, the person is doing something different. This way, they will not get bored and will be able to work out various body parts each day.
Make It Social
All activities are more fun when you have company. Your family member or friend will be a lot more willing to exercise if there was a social aspect to enjoy. So, you may want to look into enrolling them in classes with people of a similar age group as them. This way, they will be excited to get up and meet their friends each day. In addition to having lots of physical benefits, having other people around can also help to bolster moods and improve attitudes.
Understand That There are Always Options
If the elderly individual is wheelchair-bound or can’t move much, they may feel like exercising is not something that they can manage. The good news is that this isn’t true. There are plenty of exercises that have been designed for people with restricted movement. As you can see, it is simply a matter of doing some research.
While exercise can undoubtedly be beneficial to elderly individuals, you need to make sure that it is physically safe for them to do these. The best thing to do is to get them checked up by a doctor so that you can be certain about whether working out is what is best for them.
Jennifer Parsons is a full-time caregiver for her aging parents. This has led to her compiling all of the information she can regarding how to improve their quality of life. She has a lot of experience with assistive walking devices and how to utilize them.