In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, BrightStar Care took a look at the most popular family caregiver activities across the country. Based on national search data from Google, exercise with seniors is popular in the Northeast region.
To continue our spotlight on National Family Caregivers Month, we’re highlighting ways that you can exercise with seniors. Exercise has a host of physical benefits for our aging loved ones: it can help them lose or maintain weight, reduce the impact of chronic disease, and enhance balance and flexibility, which can help reduce the risk of dangerous falls. There’s also a plethora of mental benefits, too. Exercise has been shown to boost mood, enable deeper sleep, relieve stress, and even stave off cognitive decline.
No age is too old to start exercising, even in very small doses. Exercise for seniors does not need to be strenuous in order to have an impact and help your loved one bring about positive health changes. In the Northeast, cold weather prevents you from exercising outdoors year-round; we have plenty of ideas on staying active no matter the temperature outside. Read on for more tips from BrightStar Care on helping your senior loved one get moving and have fun while doing so—together. And remember to consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine.
4 Ways to Exercise With Seniors
Walking is fantastic for health. Walking improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, and, according to research from the University of Michigan Medical School, can even add years onto your life. If the weather’s nice, head to a local park and go at your loved one’s pace. If it’s on the chilly side, the local mall is a perfect spot to walk—clean and well-lit, with an even floor. Have a well-behaved dog? Take him for a walk too!
2. Swimming for Seniors
Swimming is a wonderful exercise, as it’s non-weight-bearing—that means it’s ideal for anyone with knee, ankle, or hip problems. Swimming requires coordination (using arms and legs at the same time) as well as strength to propel the body through the water. Lastly, it can be an aerobic exercise depending on how fast the swimmer goes. Seniors don’t need to cut through the water like an Olympian to reap the benefits. Encourage your loved one to go at his or her own pace, and swim (or walk!) side-by-side in an indoor or outdoor pool.
3. Yoga for Seniors
Yoga helps with balance, flexibility, and core strength. It’s also a surefire way to promote overall well-being and relieve stress. Balance exercises for seniors, like the kind done in yoga, are particularly beneficial, as they can help reduce the risk of falling. Yoga can also be done sitting down if needed. Check out our tips for doing yoga with your loved one, a popular activity for family caregivers and their senior loved ones in the Southwest.
4. Stretching for Seniors
Flexibility is an important component of health, and the best way to increase flexibility is through stretching. Stretching is especially important for seniors, as it can increase their range of motion and make them less prone to injury while enjoying life. Stretching can even help improve posture and relieve pain. If your loved one is wheelchair-bound, they can still work on some simple stretches like side-to-side reaches and neck rolls.
For even more inspiration, learn about other popular family caregiver activities by region with BrightStar Care.