Get active for health and happinessIt’s not just you – inactivity naturally increases with age. In fact, by age 75, approximately one in three men and one in two women engage in absolutely no physical activity. This can be equally as frustrating for a senior as it is for their caregiver, especially if you’re a long-distance caregiver.
Even those who were active in their earlier lives fall out of the habit – but there are ways to be an active senior. It ultimately begins with a personal decision to make the effort. It can also take some creativity by a caregiver to engage their loved one in fun and unique ways to get exercise despite any physical limitations.
Take small steps that gradually lead to a healthy lifestyle
Even if your senior is ready to get back to regular physical activity, don’t let him or her get carried away too quickly. Rushing into too much activity can have adverse effects. Those who have led a sedentary life for a significant period of time need to gradually adjust themselves to an active lifestyle, especially seniors. Overdoing it increases the risk of burnout as well as injuries.
Seniors can avoid this by taking things slow with a well-organized fitness schedule. Before creating this new exercise regimen, older adults should also check with their healthcare professionals to ensure that they’re not putting themselves at risk. Create a plan that has incremental increases in activity as the weeks and months progress, with continuous variety to make sure the activities stay challenging and engaging.
Improving balance and mobility is key for active seniors
One’s mobility can decrease with age – especially if you let it. Seniors who spend most of their days stationery experience muscle atrophy, which can consequently create instability, poor blood flow, shortness of breath, and other physical problems. It is one of the most important tasks for older adults to maintain their strength – and the best way to do this if by actively improving their balance and mobility.
One of the best ways to increase mobility while keeping an aging senior engaged is through yoga. Common advantages of practicing yoga include:
- Arthritis pain relief
- Muscle gain
- Increased flexibility
- Mood elevation
- Back pain relief
- Assists in fall prevention
As yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years, classes that specialize in yoga for seniors have also expanded their reach across the country. Particularly in Florida, yoga has become an integral part of leading a healthy lifestyle for many seniors. There are several types of yoga classes for seniors in Broward and Palm Beach County, such as Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center's Senior Chair Yoga Workshop. Incorporating yoga into an active senior’s routine will improve their strength and could also put off the need for using walking aides.
Hobbies can be active, too
If your loved one dislikes the idea of exercise or workouts, play to what does interest them to ensure they’ll stay engaged and stick with it. Did they use to golf regularly when they were younger? Or could you always find them on the dance floor? Don’t let them use the excuse of “old age” to prevent them from participating in the hobbies they use to love – especially the active hobbies. You might have to get a bit more creative, but finding unique ways to allow them to enjoy their hobbies again will ensure that they maintain some level of activity.
Stay motivated with at-home caregiving
Older adults become sedentary mainly due to physical limitations and boredom. It’s easy for them to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, but it’s harder for them to keep it going long-term. One of the greatest advantages of home healthcare is having consistent companionship that will encourage seniors to keep their body and mind active. At FirstLantic, we call it the FirstLantic Way, which encourages both our team members and the clients they serve to “bring it” each and every day.
Whether it’s the assistance of a short walk around the house, sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine, or a more clinical nursing need, FirstLantic has been helping seniors live better lives at home for over 17 years. If your loved one lives in Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Indian River, or Martin Counties, contact us today.