Many of us have precious childhood memories of running, jumping, and playing active games with our parents. It sometimes seemed as if nothing could stop them from keeping up with our boundless energy. If only it could last forever!
The truth is the natural course of aging can affect our ability to be as mobile as we used to be. However, that doesn’t mean older people shouldn’t stay active. A sedentary life lacking adequate movement can lead to many health problems, including diabetes, cancer, cognitive decline, and heart failure.
Many older adults try to make a habit of taking a leisurely walk every day. Although any amount of movement is good, it might not be enough to keep them healthy, independent, and living longer.
If you’re a family member or caregiver to an older person, it’s essential to encourage your loved one to develop an exercise routine that will preserve their well-being and improve mobility. But how do you get started?
The first step would be to talk to your older loved one’s family doctor before starting any exercise program. They’ll be able to provide insight into the person’s abilities, so you’ll know how to tailor their program correctly.
The four types of mobility-improving exercise recommended for older adults
Every workout program includes specific goals the individual wants to reach. According to the National Institute on Aging, older people should focus on the following exercise categories to help them achieve their fitness goals.
These exercises give you more energy, improving heart, lung, and circulatory system health. A brisk walk or jog that makes you lightly sweat, low-impact yard work, swimming, dancing, tennis, and biking are all excellent ways to improve endurance.
You can decrease the chances of fall-related injuries – common among older people – with exercises that improve balance. Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent ways to improve balance. Taking a class can also help your loved one meet new friends and make the routines more fun.
The older person in your life will experience less stiffness, become more agile, and move more freely with routines that enhance flexibility. Many stretching or yoga exercises can help someone maintain flexibility and to improve their mobility.
Strength training by building and maintaining muscles in the arms, legs, back, and hips can also help mobility. Many people use weights, bands, or even cans of soup to keep their muscles supple and strong.
There are many resources on YouTube where you and your elderly loved one can find exercises for older people. You can also click here for more ideas and routines designed for older people.
Remember – safety first! Always be present during the routines to monitor the person’s well-being. Make sure they tell you if they experience dizziness, chest pain or pressure, or a feeling that resembles heartburn during endurance exercises. Keep water on hand for hydration and help the person if they need any assistance during their exercise routine.
Better yet – join in! Exercise and physical activities are always fun when done together!
The benefits of improved mobility
Better mobility helps your loved ones interact with their grandchildren more, dance at a family wedding, and preserve their independence by enabling them to do housework, yard work, and other simple household tasks.
The ability to “keep moving” also has other essential health benefits, such as:
- Burning calories that can aid weight loss
- Improved ability to ward off disease, manage blood pressure, increase bone density, and avoid severe health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers
- Prevents memory loss, aids cognitive function, and slows the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Boosts mood and self-confidence through the release of endorphins that result from more physical activity
- Increases the quality of sleep, which is vital for overall health and well-being and helps the person awake feeling rested, refreshed, and energetic
You’re never too old to improve mobility through exercise. Be sure to offer encouragement and support when your older loved ones work hard to achieve their physical health and mobility goals. You’ll both reap some fantastic benefits. If you need help, professional elder care is just a phone call away.
Quality in-home elder care in Etobicoke, Toronto West, Mississauga, and Brampton
It’s wonderful to serve as a family caregiver to an elderly loved one. It’s a demanding position requiring a lot of time and sacrifice to ensure your older relative gets the care they need to live as independently at home as possible.
When you need extra help on-demand or support on a regular basis, get in touch with the CareHop team. We specialize in providing respectful, empathetic in-home elder care services such as homemaking and meal preparation, personal care, activities, and casual companionship. Our elder care services are designed to positively impact your family’s lives and bring joy and sunshine into your loved one’s home.
We also offer professional Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care that focuses on your loved one’s needs and helps them have a great day every day.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help you.