Exercises to Help Keep Our Elders Active
It is said that inactivity will kill the body faster than any disease, this may be more true than you think since obesity and depression usually follow inactivity. Exercising releases endorphins in your brain that relieve stress, boost your self-esteem, and generally improve your overall well-being. Too often disabled seniors tend to give up consistent activity altogether simply because it is harder to find suitable activities. More often than not, the hardest part is not them doing the exercises but motivating them to get into a consistent habit of doing so. The important thing when trying as a caregiver, to get disabled seniors to be more active is to help them find an activity they can enjoy while getting a decent workout. Here are four activities that are both fun and beneficial for the elderly.
Yoga, particularly Hatha Yoga, is excellent for the elderly as it requires stretching the body out in slow, gentle poses. Many of these poses are done on the ground and can be especially convenient to those with less mobility in their hips or legs. Hatha yoga is more of a meditative style that encourages proper breathing, stress relief, and smooth stretching. No this exercise will not burn a thousand calories in one session but it will go a long way to loosening up the body and providing enough activity to the point where you can feel your muscles at work.
Like Yoga, Tai Chi is a form of exercise that utilizes various forms of stretching and poses to improve balance and flexibility. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese form of self-defense that in more modern times has been adapted into a graceful form of exercise. It requires no equipment, is self-paced and has minimal impact on the joints making it a great activity for seniors who are severely limited in exercise. Many elders attribute this practice to improved balance and having significantly less risk of falls.
Anyone who has ever had a serious lower body injury should have discovered the benefits of swimming. The water provides resistance to your muscles as you are in motion and eases the impact on your joints as your feet hit the ground. Just walking in a pool can be the best activity for seniors. Some even utilize their walking aids in the pool at first in order to ease their bodies into the motion. Overtime swimming or walking in the pool can tremendously improve functionality in your lower joints and their supporting muscles.
Core strength is important to maintain anyway you can. It allows you to sit up, shift, bend, and most of all it stabilizes your back and hips. Pilates focus on using floor exercises to work your abs, lower back, thighs, and hips. For those who are less capable Pilates are an excellent to keep your core strong and compensate for the lack of activity due to your disability.
All of these exercises are easily adaptable to people of all capabilities. Try them all out at least once and see which one you enjoy most. Remember the key living a healthy lifestyle is consistency, not intensity. Choose one of these to do for a month or so and then switch it up for a bit. Don’t try and do all four of these on a regular basis, the last thing you want to do is injure yourself and become even less capable of exercise. Always talk with your doctor before engaging in any sort of exercise program, especially if you have an inhibiting disability.
Cheryl Swanson is geriatric health writer and passionate personal trainer to the elderly. She enjoys helping elders staying on their feet both in the gym and in her writing for Justwalkers, a leading supplier of rolling walkers.
LEARN TO LOVE YOUR LIFE AGAIN
Do you feel like you need to hit the REFRESH button on your life? Download our free guide and begin to create your best life yet!