Home Care Blog>In Home Care | January 4, 2017
Low Impact Exercises | There is no lack of research touting the myriad benefits of exercise. This makes it all the more frustrating for millions of seniors who want to harness these benefits but are physically limited by chronic pain and disease. The good news is that most of the benefits associated with regular exercise do not require gym memberships, fancy equipment, or even strenuous activity. In fact, low-impact exercises are often preferable as they produce benefits while limiting potential pain and injury.
Low-impact and high-impact refers the to amount of stress placed upon the joints during exercise and not the intensity or effectiveness of the movements or routines. Many low-impact exercises go so far as to remove any stressful or repetitive contact of body parts with hard surfaces. Examples of such activities include swimming, biking, yoga, and Tai Chi. Others, such as water aerobics or low-impact aerobics allow the contact of limbs with the ground, but in a highly-controlled manner. Water aerobics offsets the impact of the limbs and stress on joints through the buoyancy of the water.
Many of the benefits of regular exercise are related to a controlled increase in the heart rate. Low-impact exercises are able to increase the heart rate just as effectively as high-impact exercises. Many of them also come with the added benefits of working on balance and flexibility as well. Further, low-impact exercises tend to raise the heart rate at a slower pace so those who need to carefully monitor their heart rate or blood pressure can do so more easily.
Of course, the greatest benefit of low-impact exercise is the lack of stress on the joints. This makes low-impact activities a great option for seniors dealing with joint pain from arthritis and autoimmune disorders or who are worried about the consequences of osteoporosis. In addition to protecting joints from impact, the loss of weight through exercise makes a significant difference when it comes to the workload the joints are subjected to. Losing just five or ten pounds can make an enormous difference that can be felt in the joints.
Seniors who live alone may have additional concerns about exercise, especially if they are dealing with physical pain or issues that limit mobility. Should they fall or get injured, they may not be able to get help. Other times, the stress related to the exercise counteracts the benefits. This is where an in home caregiver can make all of the difference. An in home caregiver can provide the physical, emotional and social support needed for seniors to exercise safely and confidently. Plus, it is a whole lot more fun to work out when there is somebody to encourage you, prod you on, and talk to. An in home caregiver can also provide transportation to a senior center, fitness center, or pool should transportation be needed.
In short, low-impact exercises are far from inferior forms of exercise. In addition to being joint-safe, they are effective ways to reduce stress, reduce weight, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In situations where seniors require assistance to take advantage of exercise opportunities, a senior caregiver can provide essential physical, emotional, and social supports.
If you are concerned about the safety of your aging loved ones, especially in regard to fire, we can help. While it’s important to rely on the expertise of licensed professionals for certain precautions, we can provide home safety assessments and ensure your loved ones’ environment is safe.