The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that physical activity for older adults is one of the most important things that can contribute to their health. No matter what age staying active is an imperative part of life. There’s a little truth to the saying “if you don’t use it you lose it”. This is especially true for our muscles and with exercising our brain.
The CDC states that older adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week along with two days of muscle strengthening activities. That can be broken down into 30 minutes a day. These 30 minutes can also be spread out into 3 separate workouts for 10 minutes at a time.
The word exercise may seem like a daunting task to a lot of people but really the goal is to stay active. I found that there are many ways to include more activity within your everyday routine. The first step to being more active is to make it a priority. As older adults have this transition in life to having less mandatory activities and into more sedentary down time, there occasionally can be a lack in purpose. This purpose is what is going to get them out of bed and off the sofa and into the world.
There are some ways for you to help your loved one or the older adults that you take care of incorporate exercise into their daily routine.
1. You and your loved one can begin going for a brisk walk in the morning or maybe a little after lunch.
2. Doing some light garden work is great to get in some fresh air and also have a goal in mind that will have a great end result.
3. If your loved one enjoys watching a certain show maybe they could try doing some balance exercise during commercial breaks so they can get some movement in while still enjoying their television time.
If you feel that your loved can increase the amount of exercise they get or they express the want to do more, community centers may be the next step. Community centers typically have a wide range of activities and classes for seniors with little to no cost. Look into your local centers for what may be available and most centers will even gladly provide transportation as well. As an added bonus your loved one will get to interact with other older individuals like themselves which would give them more of a reason to stay involved.
Resources like YouTube and the National Institute on Aging have a plethora of examples and information on specific exercise practices like Tai-Chi, Yoga, and aerobics. Many churches, hospitals, and shopping malls are also great resources to find groups and fitness programs for older adults.
Furthermore you can try doing the same actives with your loved one and get some benefit as well. Try adding one a new activity to your weekly routine or just switching up one activity so that your loved one has something to look forward to.