Dance class? You bet. Biking? Absolutely. Getting older and reaching retirement doesn’t mean you retire your body. Regular exercise for the elderly is worth its weight in healthful benefits, including:
- Less pain
- More flexible joints
- Increased blood circulation
- Improved heart health
- Strengthened bone density
- Weight maintenance or loss
- Better sleep
- Increased mental sharpness
A balanced fitness approach for older adults includes endurance, strength, balance and flexibility exercises. If an ageing loved one brushes off the idea of routine exercise, here’s how to help:
- Explain the healthful benefits. Regular physical activity is essential for better living as people age. No one is too old to exercise. Highlight the exercise advantages of improving energy and outlook.
- Start small. Instead of overdoing it the first week and giving up entirely, opt for moderate pacing with activity. Elders who have been inactive or have slowed down over the years need to gradually increase exercise challenges.
- Be realistic. Heading to an aqua fitness class several days a week will not match every older person’s interest or ability level. Make a written exercise plan that is doable and attainable and modify it as needed. For those with limitations, even simple chair exercises can help.
- Choose the enjoyable. Exercise can be fun and something older adults truly look forward to each week. Suggest a variety of options and let your elder choose his or her top two or three preferred activities.
- Garner the support of others. Enlisting an exercise partner helps with exercise consistency and builds friendship. For elders who receive a doctor-approved exercise program, Right at Home adult home care professionals can offer safety supervision.
It’s never too late for the elderly to refresh a regular physical exercise routine to keep up with the grandkids at the park or a dance at the next birthday soirée. Tennis or biking, anyone?
What ideas do you have for helping elders stay active as they age?