Exercise is a simple, fun, and effective way for seniors to maintain physical and mental health well into the later years of life. That being said, it’s just as important for older adults to take steps to avoid injuries while doing any type of physical activity. When precautions like the ones discussed below are taken, exercise can be safe and beneficial for most older adults.
Warm Up First
Stretching helps seniors maintain joint flexibility while also stimulating soft tissues. It’s also something that should be done briefly before going from an inactive to an active state. Stretching can involve:
- Performing gentle side-to-side twists
- Walking in place
- Doing backward arm stretches
- Mimicking the motions of the exercise that will be done without fully doing it
Start Slowly & Step Things Up Gradually
Testing the limits of human endurance isn’t generally something seniors should be in the habit of doing. It’s safer for older adults to exercise at a slower pace at first before making things a bit more challenging, as this gets the body accustomed to added muscle stimulation in a way that minimizes the risk of strains and other injuries.
With the help of professional caregivers, seniors can exercise safely at home. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Richmond, VA, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
Get Doctor Approval Before Starting Anything New
Not all forms of exercise are right for every older adult, which is why it’s best for a senior just getting into a fitness routine or giving a new form of exercise a try to see what his or her doctor has to say first. A physician can also offer more specific safety tips and precautions.
“No pain, no gain” is a common exercise motto seniors shouldn’t pay attention to. In fact, it’s better for older adults to be in tune with their bodies so they don’t go beyond their natural limits, which means:
- Resting or stopping if pain suddenly develops
- Realizing certain more strenuous exercises are best avoided
- Exercising with a family caregiver or friend who can offer gentle reminders to not overdo it
There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading homecare provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
Opt for Senior-Friendly Exercises
Another way for seniors to stay within acceptable limitations is to opt for exercises that are typically considered appropriate and safe for older adults. Such exercises normally include yoga, water-based activities, and low-impact aerobics.
Eat More Protein
Protein helps the body recover after exercise. It also plays a role in healing and building muscle. These are just some of the reasons seniors who exercise on a regular basis can benefit from a diet that includes more protein. Reliable protein sources include:
- Skinless chicken or turkey and lean ground beef
- Beans and lentils
- Low-fat and nonfat dairy products
- Fish and shellfish
- Soy foods
Drink Plenty of Water
Hydration is an absolute necessity for seniors before, during, and after exercise. Water consumption shouldn’t be based on thirst alone, and a smart way for a senior to remain sufficiently hydrated is to drink from a refillable water bottle throughout the day.
Wrap Things Up with a Cooldown
When wrapping up exercise, older bodies need some help shifting back to a less active state, so it’s best to avoid an abrupt stop by doing a cooldown. A cooldown can involve walking in place and other simple movements that allow the body to wind down safely.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care service. Richmond families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your loved one, call us at (804) 207-4746 today.