While exercise is always an important part of life, staying active gets increasingly important with age. When caring for seniors, helping them maintain their exercise routines is crucial for many reasons. One significant factor is that muscle loss is a common side effect of aging. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. In fact, many forms of exercise can be quite fun, and most can be done while watching a favorite television program. Here are some simple yet productive at-home exercises to help your senior loved one stay active. But before we get started, keep these safety tips in mind.
Talk to the Doctor First
If there’s one person you should talk to about your loved one’s exercise regimen, it’s his or her doctor. The doctor will be able to provide specifics on what types of exercises will be particularly helpful and what kinds your loved one should probably stay away from.
Some seniors have health conditions or other limitations that make it difficult to exercise and handle daily activities without assistance. Chandler in-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
Stretching is very important when it comes to injury prevention. Make sure your loved one spends an appropriate amount of time stretching, especially before more vigorous activities.
Start Off Slow
Don’t pressure your parent to just jump right in to doing more physically demanding workouts. Encourage your loved one to start off slowly and then work up to a level of exercise he or she is comfortable with.
Seniors who need assistance with exercising or other daily tasks can benefit from professional in-home care. Home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
It can be easy to forget to breathe properly while exercising. To help your parent avoid changes in blood pressure and passing out, make sure your loved one isn’t holding his or her breath when working out.
Drink Plenty of Water
Unless the doctor says otherwise, increase hydration when working out. Keep your parent’s water bottle full and by his or her side to prevent dehydration. Also, keep your loved one’s ability level in mind and make sure he or she doesn’t overdo it. If your loved one experiences any dizziness, chest pain, extreme shortness of breath, or joint swelling, he or she should stop immediately, take a break, have some water, seek help if necessary, and try modifying the exercise so it’s easier to do.
Upper Body Exercises
- In a sturdy chair that has armrests, sit with feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart
- Keeping the shoulders and back straight, lean forward with hands grasping the armrests
- Slowly and carefully use the arms to push the body out of the chair
- Slowly and carefully lower the body back into the chair
- Do this 10 times
- Repeat for two or three sets
(This exercise requires 1-, 2-, or 3-pound weights)
- Stand up with feet shoulder-width apart
- Pick up the weights and hold them down by the sides with palms facing forward
- Take a slow, deep breath
- Release the breath, slowly bend the elbows, and lift the weights upward toward the chest
- Take another deep breath and put arms back down to the sides
- Repeat 10 to 20 times, resting whenever necessary
- Take a seat in a sturdy chair that has armrests
- Put the forearms on the arms of the chair, leaving the wrists to hang over the edge
- Starting with the right side, slowly bend the wrist up and down and repeat 10 to 20 times
- Repeat on the left
- Do two or three sets of this exercise
(This exercise requires 1-, 2-, or 3-pound weights and can be done either standing or sitting)
- Place the feet flat on the floor and keep them shoulder-width apart throughout the exercise
- Pick up one weight with one hand and raise that arm toward the ceiling, just above the shoulder, while using the other arm as support
- Breathe in
- While releasing the breath, without locking the elbow, slowly straighten the arm toward the ceiling
- Repeat 10 times with each arm
- Do two or three sets of this exercise
Lower Body Exercises
- Sit in a sturdy, comfortable chair and place feet flat on the floor
- Starting with the left side, extend the right knee so the foot is off the floor
- Move the foot in a circle 10 to 15 times
- Repeat on the right side
- Do two to four sets of this exercise
- Stand behind a sturdy chair, holding on to the back with feet flat on the floor
- Raise up on the toes as high as comfortably possible
- Return back to flat foot position
- Repeat 10 to 20 times
- Stand behind a sturdy chair and hold on to the back
- Without bending the knee or pointing the toes, lift one leg straight back
- Lift the back leg up, bending the knee and bringing the heel toward the buttocks
- Slowly lower the foot back down to the floor
- Repeat this 10 times for each leg
- Do two sets of this exercise
- Holding the back side of a sturdy chair, place feet flat on the floor
- Using a rocking motion, lift the front of the feet off the floor, putting all the weight on the heels
- Place the feet back to flat on the ground
- Repeat this 10 to 20 times
Including balance exercises in a workout routine is not only great for overall health but can also decrease the risk of falling.
- Place a thumb about four to five inches in front of the face
- Following the thumb with the eyes, move the thumb far to the right side, stopping once the eyes can no longer follow along
- Move the thumb as far to the left side as possible while still tracking with the eyes
- Keeping the same general idea in mind, move the thumb upward and then downward
- Repeat this eye-tracking routine two to four times
- Stand behind a chair with feet flat on the ground and arms down by the sides
- Step forward, with the right foot passing the right side of the chair
- Hold this position for 10 seconds
- Switch feet and repeat the same movement with the left foot
- Repeat this 5 to 10 times
- Begin with feet flat on the ground and arms straight by the sides
- Maintaining balance, lift up the right leg to bend the knee in a marching position
- Lower the leg back down to the floor
- Switch legs and repeat this movement
- Repeat this process 15 to 20 times
Some seniors prefer to exercise at home, and they can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of professional in-home caregivers. Chandler respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (480) 448-6215 today.