Caregiver in Rochester MN
April is Physical Wellness Month, but taking care of one’s health is important all the time. As people age it becomes even more important.
The National Institute on Aging says there are four main types of exercise for older adult. As a family caregiver for your parent, it’s important to understand the different types of exercise and encourage them to do something from each category for optimal health benefits.
- Endurance or cardio: This could be bicycling (either outdoors or stationary); brisk walking or jogging; swimming; dancing; using a treadmill, stepper-type machine, or elliptical.
- Strength-building: This could include lifting free weights, using elastic exercise bands (they come with varying degrees of resistance), or using adjustable commercial cable machines. Simple objects in your parent’s home, such as canned goods, can be used in place of weights.
- Balance: Suggestions include walking heel to toe, Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates.
- Flexibility: To stretch muscles in the body will help keep a person limber.
Some seniors may be a little hesitant to exercise for any number of reasons. They may feel safer by not exerting themselves. They might feel they have to buy equipment to exercise at home or join a fitness center. Some may even feel embarrassed by what they perceive as limited mobility.
However, according to the National Institutes of Health, being active is a healthy choice for seniors. Exercise, even in small doses, helps improve mood and relieves stress. It can also help delay or prevent disease, says the NIH. So, encourage your mom or dad to get up and get moving.
You may want to suggest they be with others of a similar age by going to a local senior center. Many of these centers offer exercise classes with little to no cost. Depending on their age requirement, you may even be able to go and participate in the exercise activities with them. There may be a local gym or YMCA that offers reduced fees for senior exercise programs.
The NIH recommendation is to do each type of exercise two or more days per week for 30 minutes at a time, but not to exercise the same muscle group on any two days in a row. With any exercise, your parents should check with their physician to make sure they are healthy enough to begin an exercise program.