We often encourage our elderly loved ones to take it easy and some of us go overboard in doing every little thing for them. However, is this really helping them? As long as there are no physical limitations preventing the elder from being active, it is in their best interest for them to engage in physical activity. Staying active is a great way to improve senior care.
Moderate physical activity is good for all ages. Exercising safely is even beneficial to seniors with chronic illnesses. In fact, many health conditions are made better with exercise.
Regular exercise improves senior care in the following ways:
- Cardiovascular – Regular physical activity lowers the risk of heart disease and lowers the blood pressure of those who suffer with hypertension.
- Chronic conditions – Exercise lowers the risk of conditions such as lung disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, arthritis pain, and many types of cancer.
- Immunity – When the body is strong and healthy, it can fight off sickness or infections easier and quicker.
- Gastrointestinal – Exercise promotes digestive health and efficient waste elimination.
- Osteoporosis – Regular exercise provides protection against bone mass loss. Good bone density is important to prevent osteoporosis. Strong bones also reduce the risk of falling.
There are three components of exercising that senior care services should know:
- Stretching – This is vital to exercise because stretching helps warm up the muscles and also helps in the process of cooling down. Stretching improves flexibility, reduces muscle soreness, and prevents injury. Yoga or Pilates is a good form of stretching because it focuses on developing specific muscle groups and building a strong core. Having a strong core helps with movement and reduces muscle pain.
- Cardiovascular – It is recommended for seniors to endure 30 minutes of cardio exercises each day. This involves getting the heart rate up and includes activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. If an elder is unable to perform 30 minutes all at once, it is okay to do 3 ten minute exercise sessions. This type of exercise increases the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.
- Strength Training Exercise – This type of exercise uses repetition of motion to strengthen muscles. This involves using weights, resistance bands, walls, and furniture to create resistance. It is recommended to perform 2 to 3 strength training workouts a week for maximum benefits.
Senior care should know the physical limitations of the elder they are working with. Consult with the doctor if you are not sure if the exercise plan you developed will be helpful or harmful in any way to your loved one.