March 18, 2019
Lots of older adults slow down as they age. Still, they need exercise just like everyone else. In fact, exercise may be even more important for seniors because it helps to keep their muscles strong, which reduces the risk of falling. The problem is that being active sometimes get harder with age. Sore joints and chronic medical conditions may make working out the last thing your aging relative feels like doing. But, exercise doesn’t have to be in the form of a structured workout in a gym.
There are plenty of fun ways for seniors to include physical activity in their days. Below are 4 of them.
#1: Window Shopping at the Mall
Malls are great places to walk. They’re heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer. And, since they’re inside, seniors can walk rain or shine. And, lots of malls open their main doors early so that people can walk before the crowds arrive, reducing the chances your older family member will be jostled and injured. What makes mall walking fun? While they are walking, seniors can peek in the windows of stores to see the latest styles, gadgets, and gift ideas.
#2: Go for a Swim
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for people who have joint problems, like arthritis. It’s low impact and the warm water of a heated pool can be soothing. Swimming doesn’t have to be doing laps to be good exercise. Even a casual swim or playing Marco Polo with grandchildren can count as physical activity. Or, if the older adult isn’t a great swimmer, look for a water aerobics class.
#3: Weight Train with Household Items
There’s no need to go to the gym to get in some weight training. Cans of soup, jugs of milk, and other household items can be used as weights to strengthen the upper body. And, to make it more fun, the older adult can exercise while watching their favorite television program, listening to the radio, or enjoying an audiobook.
#4: Play with the Dog
Even seniors with limited mobility can increase their physical activity by playing with the family dog. Tossing a ball or playing a game of tug can get the heart rate up and blood pumping. For seniors who enjoy a walk, taking the dog along can make the activity more fun and social.
Elder care can make physical activity more enjoyable for seniors, too. Sometimes elderly people are reluctant to be active because they worry they’ll be injured. Having an elder care provider around can make them feel more confident. Elder care providers can also serve as companionship during exercise by going for walks with them, chatting with them while they weight train at home, or helping them to play with the dog.