Elderly Exercise: Helping Older People Stay Active

No one can stop their body from changing as they get older. If you care for anyone who is in their senior years, you have surely noticed that they aren’t as mobile as they probably once were. We all have to face to facts of aging, including it getting a little more difficult to move around. As we get older, remaining active and mobile can be difficult, especially as some health conditions become more likely. There are a few different things we can do to remain active, even as our bodies begin to experience a few aches and pains. As a carer, you can encourage the person you look after to be more active to help them stay healthy.


It’s Never Too Late to Get Active


Some people are fairly active throughout their lives or might pick up an enthusiasm for fitness as an adult. People enjoy doing all sorts of things, from running, walking and cycling to swimming and weight training. However, some people reach their later years and realize that they’ve never been particularly active. Although this might make you think that it’s too late, there’s always time to increase the level of exercise someone does. If you care for someone who has never exercised much before, they should start off gently. Walking is ideal, allowing them to go at their own pace and get some fresh air. Swimming is also a good idea because it’s low-impact, helping to protect the joints and other parts of the body.

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Focus on Regular, Gentle Exercise


Not everyone is a fitness freak who loves working out as much as possible. Make sure that the person you look after knows it’s not a choice between vigorous exercise or none at all. They should get active their way and find things they enjoy. If they have always loved being active, they might be able to keep up a steady and more intense level of exercise. However, as their body begins to change, focusing on more gentle exercise can be more helpful. Making sure they get up and about doing gentle or moderate activity for about two and a half hours each week helps them maintain a good level of fitness.


Get Access to Activities


It’s not always easy to stay active as you get older, especially because you might find it hard to go anywhere or start to become isolated. One of the best things to do to encourage older people to get active is to find activities they enjoy, whether they’re active ones or just something they might be able to walk or cycle to. Having a choice of activities is one of the reasons many people choose assistive care when they need a bit of help looking after themselves. They have the care they need available, and they can access a range of things to do to keep both their minds and bodies active. There are often exercise classes and active days out, as well as other fun activities.


Try Some More Moderate to Vigorous Exercise


Any exercise at all is what’s important, especially as you get older, but there can be such a thing as taking things too gently. Usually exercise that’s at least “moderate” is recommended for all ages, which should help to raise your heart rate. It can include going for a brisk walk, riding a bike, or even pushing a lawn mower. However, general activity like cleaning the house is unlikely to count. While gentle exercise can help to improve strength and balance, especially if your mobility is limited, it’s also important to try to work toward something a little more strenuous.


Work on Different Areas of Fitness


Think about the different types of fitness that can help people stay healthy if you want to encourage someone to be more active. As they get older, many people can struggle with things like strength, stamina, flexibility, and balance. All of these ways to measure fitness can be areas of focus if you want to help someone get or keep fit. There are different types of exercise you can use to work on different areas of fitness. For example, yoga can help with flexibility or weight training can help to improve strength. Just increasing their general level of activity if they’re usually very sedentary can help to improve their fitness in these areas.

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Seek Doctor’s Advice for Limiting Health Conditions


As we age, the chances of developing some health conditions increases. This includes health problems that might limit mobility or cause chronic pain, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. These can make people reluctant to exercise because it can be difficult to do even simple things. However, it doesn’t mean that they should stop moving completely. In fact, staying active will often help with these conditions, and there are plenty of low-impact activities to try. It’s a good idea to speak to a doctor about what someone can do and the best way to keep fit. You can speak to someone’s doctor for them or encourage them to do it themselves.


Get Fit with Friends


Another problem for many older people is loneliness. In fact, it’s one of the biggest issues facing the senior community today. One of the reasons it’s a problem is that many people can struggle to get out and about. If the person you care for is lucky enough to still be active, staying fit with other people is a great idea. They can keep fit and socialize at the same time by joining classes or groups. For example, some people like to join walking or cycling groups. Exercising with other people can be very motivational, especially when others are relying on someone to turn up.


Get Active with Grandkids


There’s nothing like the energy of youth to get you moving more when you get older. If you care for someone who has grandchildren (maybe they’re your own children), or maybe grand-nieces and nephews, spending time with them can definitely get them moving. If the kids are young enough to love running around, they’ll encourage their grandparent to get on their feet and play with them. You might have noticed that there are some residential homes for older people that team up with nurseries to benefit both the seniors and the children.


If you’re worried that someone you care for isn’t active or mobile enough, you can offer some gentle encouragement to help them.

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