Although staying safe at home has become our new normal, that doesn’t mean we should spend our time stagnant in front of the television! For seniors or those caring for older parents, specifically people who have chronic health problems, sustaining an active lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic is a struggle which may seem impossible. However, research shows that engaging in regular exercises for seniors with chronic health conditions provide numerous advantages, including:
- Builds independence
- Minimizes the possibility of falls and subsequent fractures
- Reduces blood pressure levels
- Increases stamina and strength
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Promotes healthy muscles, bones, and joints
- Helps control pain and swelling connected with arthritis
- And so much more
In spite of the many benefits of exercise, the majority of older adults – 67% of them, per another recent research study – are spending the majority of their day on sedentary activities, and by age 75, 1/3 of all men and ½ of women report participating in no physical activity of any kind. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health issues, as it can exacerbate many of the symptoms associated with type II diabetes, cancer, hypertension and more.
At Grace Home Care, we love helping seniors get back into a much healthier, more active lifestyle. Sometimes, having someone to work out with can make a major difference in making physical activity something that seniors look forward to.
We suggest making a playlist of the older adult’s favorite upbeat music, setting a designated time daily for working out so it becomes a routine, and making it fun! Here are several simple exercises for seniors you can try with a loved one, right in the comfort of home:
- Sit and stand: Simply stand about 6” in front of a solid chair, with feet placed in line with the hips and arms held straight out in front. Slowly bend the knees and sit down in the chair. Rest for a second, and then press with the upper 2/3 of the feet to return to a standing position. Repeat 10 times, twice a day. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by removing the chair and lowering into a squat (while holding onto a sturdy piece of furniture).
- Balance stance: Stand with feet together, and while grasping onto a sturdy piece of furniture or chair for balance, place one foot directly in front of the other, heel to toe, keeping the feet in a straight line as though walking on a balance beam or tightrope. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. To make the exercise a little more challenging, try without holding onto the chair for support, and eventually, add in small hand weights.
- Farmer’s walk: Stand with feet in line with the hips, and a small weight in each hand, with arms held down to the sides and palms facing the body. With head lifted and spine straight, walk for 30 seconds, or as long as possible, and then turn and go the opposite way. More weight can be added to intensify the exercise, which will also help strengthen the hands.
Be sure to always check with the senior’s health care provider prior to starting or changing any fitness regimen.
Are you caring for older parents and wondering how to help them stay active and engaged? Contact our knowledgeable aging care team for more exercise recommendations and resources, as well as for a companion in order to make health and fitness more fulfilling! Feel free to reach us any time at 785-286-2273 to learn more about our trusted Topeka senior care.