Boosting heart health, reducing joint pain, maintaining muscle strength and flexibility, and enhancing immune system functions and mental clarity are just some of the many well-documented benefits associated with regular exercise for seniors. However, it’s just as important for older adults to be safe as they exercise so they can avoid unintentional and potentially serious injuries. If you’re caring for an aging loved one, help him or her exercise safely by sharing the following tips.
Get Doctor Approval
Getting approval from a doctor is especially important for seniors who may just be getting back into a regular exercise routine. In addition to making sure your loved one is physically capable of doing the type of exercise he or she has in mind, the doctor should be able to make appropriate suggestions and offer more specific safety tips.
If your loved one is living with a serious health issue, he or she may need transportation to the doctor’s office to get approval for an exercise regimen. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Conway families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Before engaging in any type of exercise, even if it’s just a daily walk, it’s important for seniors to properly stretch first. What this does is prepare the body for a change in activity level. SilverSneakers.com suggests the following stretching exercises for older adults:
• Shoulder rolls or stretches
• Overhead side stretches
• Calf stretches
• Hamstring stretches
Better Health Channel’s website suggests seniors go through the motions of their activity or sport before actually doing it, and this should be done in a slow, controlled way to allow muscles to become sufficiently stimulated.
Mix Things Up Exercise-Wise
Variety is truly the spice of life when it comes to exercise for aging adults. Spending too much time on one set of muscle groups increases the risk of strains and sprains and other injuries related to repetitive movements, which is why seniors are advised to strengthen core muscle groups gradually in a more balanced way with different forms of exercise. This approach to fitness might involve:
• Low-impact aerobics classes that target different muscle groups
• An exercise schedule that assigns different forms of exercise to specific days of the week
• Yoga or similar disciplines that target multiple muscle groups
Drink Plenty of Water
An hour’s worth of exercise could result in the loss of as much as 15 liters of water, according to some estimates, and this can be especially dangerous for seniors since a lack of sufficient hydration can contribute to dizziness, confusion, and other reactions. A smart way for aging adults to stay properly hydrated is to have a reusable water bottle within reach while exercising.
Exercise with a Partner
An exercise partner provides added peace of mind for your loved one. This person, whether it’s a family caregiver or trusted friend, can point out signs of a potential problem, like visible issues with fatigue or improper form or technique, while also offering support and encouragement.
A professional caregiver can be present whenever your loved one needs help with exercise and other physical activity. 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 homecare. Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Cool Down When Done
Lastly, it’s just as important for aging adults to properly cool down after getting some type of exercise. The purpose of doing this is to allow the body to safely go from a period of sustained movement and activity to a less-active state. A cool down routine might involve:
• 2-3 minutes of easy walking
• Gentle arm lifts or extensions
• Hand clasps overhead or behind the back
Family caregivers also need time to exercise. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Little Rock, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break. Find out how we can help your loved one remain safe and comfortable while aging in place by calling (501) 764-1312 today.