We’re closing in on a whole new year, and we all understand what that means: time to make some resolutions! If you’re similar to most people, you will start with the best of intentions. But as time goes on and life gets busier, you may find your determination shrinking until you’ve lost your resolve to accomplish that goal altogether.
This year, why not try something somewhat different? Sit down with a senior loved one, and come up with a New Year’s resolution you can keep together! Healthy behaviors are a lot simpler to maintain if you have an accountability partner.
An especially vital habit for older adults to embrace is to meet physical activity regulations. Physical activity provides increased health and wellness for seniors, including:
- Better flexibility and balance
- Enhanced mental health
- Strengthened muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased independence, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest at least 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, as well as balance/strengthening training for optimum health and wellness for seniors. Prior to taking on a new fitness routine, older adults should first talk to their doctors for approval and any other recommendations and/or restrictions to adhere to. Then, get going with these suggestions:
Start slowly. If a senior has led a sedentary lifestyle recently, it is vital to take it easy and slowly build up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury occur by jumping in too fast to an exercise program, but it can very quickly become discouraging.
Set goals. Goals should always be both specific and attainable. For example:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Decide what kind of exercise to start.
- Tomorrow: Take a look at local exercise class options – at the YMCA, senior center, gym, etc. If an in-home workout program is preferred or more suitable, find a web-based program to follow. (Remember: just committing to a regular walk at the park or around the neighborhood is absolutely fine too!)
- By the end of the week: Purchase any necessary gear: comfortable clothing, shoes, handheld weights, bathing suit, etc.
- Long-term goals:
- In 6 months, I am going to have a healthier BMI and blood pressure level.
- By spring, I’ll be in a position to walk through the park with the grandkids.
- This time next year, I’ll be swimming five laps in the pool, five days per week.
Track improvements. Keeping track of your progress towards these goals provides great inspiration to keep going! Find a Monthly Progress Test here, together with other practical tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards achieving goals with the senior means you can also celebrate together when milestones are reached – or simply reward yourselves for doing your best to enhance your wellbeing. Plan a monthly lunch date or other rewarding activity and have fun making memories together!
If a senior in your life is interested in some extra encouragement and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Grace Home Care’s Topeka dementia care and home care experts are the ideal solution! Call us at 785-286-2273 to discover how we can help.