Staying physically active can have positive effects on a senior’s overall health and increase their longevity. An older person who becomes inactive is more susceptible to obesity, cardiovascular disease, poor bone strength, and memory issues. Seniors and exercise need to go together, and here are some steps to take to encourage your elderly loved one to exercise more often.
1. Find an Exercise Group
Exercising with a group may encourage your senior to continue working out even when they feel like quitting. People in the group can encourage each other by sharing tips and strategies to use with each technique or simplify a problematic exercise. Being part of a group also helps ward off feelings of isolation and being disconnected from the wider world.
2. Seniors and Exercise: Begin Small
If your loved one has not been exercising, don’t start out by expecting them to jump into full workout mode immediately. Start off with a routine that’s simple and easy to complete based on their current abilities. For example, get your senior to exercise for 30 minutes twice a week. From this, you can build up to 30-45 minutes four times per week.
3. Stress the Benefits
Help your loved one to visualize the advantages of exercising. Your senior may come to understand how a morning walk through their neighborhood gives them the chance to see friends while also getting some fresh air and boosting their bone strength. Talking about the positive benefits of seniors and exercise may motivate your loved one to exercise more and ward off, “But, I don’t feel like it….”
4. Make Exercising Fun
If your senior finds exercising boring, they will be less likely to keep up with it. So look for activities and exercise routines that your loved one will find interesting and enjoyable to do – bowling, dancing, hiking, swimming, whatever takes their fancy. Also, change up the routine as often as possible to prevent it from becoming stale.
5. Provide Rewards
To get your seniors to exercise more, think about offering rewards. When your loved one reaches a fitness goal, reward them with a favorite treat – tickets to a local sports match or a gift card for a favorite local store. Offering a gift is a powerful motivator because the brain latches on to the thought of a reward and responds with positive behavior.
Seniors and Exercise Can Be Challenging
Helping your older loved one to exercise can be a challenging task if you are an overworked caregiver. If you find it difficult to find enough time to help your senior exercise, you could benefit from some respite care, i.e., a break from your caregiving duties. Caring Healthcare understands the importance of seniors and exercise. Our respite in-home caregivers can help your loved one’s mobility and encourage them to exercise regularly, eat well, and get plenty of social and mental stimulation. If you live in our area (Columbia, SC), give us a call to see how we can help.