As we age, we must make changes to our lifestyle in order to stay safe and healthy. Seniors tend to be more prone to injuries and accidents because their bodies are more frail. However, there are plenty of ways to stay active at home that will keep your loved one in top shape. The more active they stay, the stronger their body will stay, even as they age. If you look around the internet you’ll find stories of dancers, gymnasts, golfers, and other athletes who are well over 80-years-old! Staying fit helps elderly people fight off illness, stay mentally and physically sharp, and move around more freely. Here are some exercise ideas from the team of caregivers at B’Zoe Home Caregiving Services!
If your loved one is looking to stay strong, flexible, and relaxed, yoga might be perfect for them! There are countless videos and books available that walk you through simple flows and poses. Your loved one can memorize some flows they enjoy or try out a new video every day! Yoga is fantastic for toning the muscles and building strength with body weight. It also improves flexibility and range of motion, two things that many seniors lose if they are not active. Make sure there is plenty of space around to avoid bumping into things and always have a carpet, mat, or another soft surface beneath you. Please check with your senior’s doctor before beginning yoga, and make sure to find poses and flows that are appropriate for their age and skill level. There are many simple poses that provide gentle stretches to areas like the neck, arms, knees, hips, and back. Do not try any difficult yoga poses without a trained professional to assist.
The internet strikes again! If yoga isn’t your family member’s thing, try workout videos instead! YouTube has thousands of videos on exercises curated specifically for those over 65. There are some higher-intensity, some lower-intensity, and even some seated workouts that will keep your senior active without causing injury. Workout videos usually involve some fun dance moves, upbeat songs, and encouraging trainers. Your elderly family member will be staying fit and having a great time all at once! Once again, please always check with your senior’s doctor before starting a new workout routine. Doctors will be able to offer exercises ideal for each person individually, and can provide some guidance for what moves to avoid or modify. We suggest having the family or a caregiver go through videos first to make sure they are safe, and it’s always a good idea to have someone else in the house to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Go For a Walk
Whenever possible, try to take your elderly family member outside! Going for walks is great for exercise and lets your loved one get some fresh air and see new sights. After this past year, we all know that staring at the same four walls of your house can take a toll. Go for a casual stroll around a park (socially distanced and with masks of course) and enjoy the spring weather! You can even make a day out of it and walk around local stores. If you find a secluded spot, and if everyone there is fully vaccinated, you can even take your masks off for a bit and really enjoy the sun. Depending on your senior’s physical condition, you could even go for hikes with slightly more challenging terrain to navigate. Uneven ground improves balance and spatial awareness and inclines require more muscle power. If your loved one is up for it, do these hikes regularly to keep them toned and ready to go!
Use Items Around The Home
While some people over 65 still go to the gym, many would rather stay home and exercise alone (especially now!). Of course, you don’t have gym equipment at home, so you may think your workout options are limited. However, seniors can workout with items around the home! Canned goods make fantastic light weights, and juice/milk jugs can be filled with water to your desired weight. If you look around the house we promise you’ll find some great alternatives to traditional gym equipment. Stairs can be used for calf raises, chairs and couches can replace benches, and knick-knacks are great for bicep curls. Help your senior get creative to find safe and effective workout tools in their home. Make sure to avoid anything too heavy that can cause pulled muscles or injuries if accidentally dropped. As always, check with their doctor to make sure weight-bearing exercises are safe. Keep in mind that the goal is to not get super strong, but rather to maintain muscle mass and bone density. Pay special attention to muscles in the arms and legs that are needed for daily tasks.
Do Chores/Work Around The House
You would be surprised how much exercise you get just completing daily chores around the house. Things like dusting, vacuuming, gardening, taking out the trash, and doing dishes all burn calories and help keep muscles strong. Of course, there are some household chores that seniors will not be able to safely accomplish on their own. Many of our clients cannot move around well, so our caregivers have to give them a hand. We are always happy to have clients help out in whatever way they can, especially if they enjoy it! Gardening is a great spring/summer activity that gets seniors moving a bit while they enjoy the outdoors. If your senior is not yet in need of in-home care, or not for movement issues anyway, encourage them to keep up with chores. Not only will a tidy house keep their spirits up, but they will stay active and healthy without even realizing it!
We would like to stress once again that you should always speak with a doctor before encouraging your senior to get more active. In-home caregivers are often trained in senior-safe exercises and will gladly help them find their way. While aging in place is desirable to most seniors, it can also lead to isolation and monotony. An in-home caregiver can be the friend your loved one needs, and the reminder to switch up the daily routine to include more active activities. B’Zoe Home Caregiving services has been providing top-quality care for years, and our clients love what we bring to the table. We’ll keep your elderly family member moving and having fun while still staying safe and getting the personalized care and service that they need. Learn more about us at https://bzoehomecare.com/ and call (206) 953-4900 to schedule a FREE consultation.