Low Impact Exercises

Maintaining our physical health as we age is an important part of overall wellbeing. Making activity part of our daily routine becomes more vital as we age but can also be more difficult.

Only 35-44% of adults over 75 are physically active.

Seniors should always discuss their physical activity level and ability with their physician. For most, engaging in 30 minutes of moderate activity each day can have numerous long-term benefits.

There are a variety of low-impact exercises and activities that can be beneficial for seniors. Low-impact exercise can elevate the heart rate, which in turn has physical health benefits.

While it is typically easier to participate in these less rigorous types of exercise, older adults should always talk to their doctor before starting a new program.

Types of low-impact exercise can include:

  • Walking: One of the benefits of walking is that, unlike running, it’s easier on the joints. Plus, it doesn’t require any special equipment or a gym membership. With a comfortable pair of tennis shoes and a smooth pathway, someone can start this right away. For the most benefit, keeping a brisk pace for at least 15-20 minutes is important.
  • Swimming: What’s better than minimal stress on the joints? No stress at all. Swimming provides a number of benefits, including strengthened shoulders and increased lung capacity. Seniors can also take part in water aerobics or walk on underwater treadmills.
  • Yoga: From improving flexibility and coordination to strengthening your core, there’s very little that yoga doesn’t do. Additionally, yoga has been shown to improve mood, focus, and overall mental well-being.
  • Pilates: This exercise allows for very slow and concise movements, designed to improve posture and flexibility. Like yoga, Pilates are known to improve mental well-being.
  • Cycling:With the proper safety measure in place (including a helmet, shin pads, and appropriate configurations), cycling can do wonders for not only the cardiovascular system but also the joints and various muscle groups.
  • Weight training: Weight training can be done at home, with small free weights or even moderately heavy objects that you can grip easily, or at a fitness center. Consistent repetition is key, as is advancing to heavier weights over time.
  • Leg Raises: These can be done at home with no equipment. Simply stand behind a chair, and while holding on to the back of the chair, move one leg to the side and then back. Repeating this, with different variations, can help strengthen lower back and thigh muscles.
  • Dancing: In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of dance class enrollment – and for good reason. The constant movement in dancing classes can help circulation and flexibility. Attended these classes can also provide great opportunities to socialize and connect with others.

 

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

At Comfort Keepers®, we create individual care plans for every client. These plans include wellness goals that consider physical, mental and emotional health. Our caregivers can help your aging loved one establish a daily routine that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Whether that’s taking daily walks or providing transportation to the local gym, we’ll work to provide care that is unique to your loved one. Our Comfort Keepers® provide the essentials our clients need to live a healthy, active, and independent life.

To find out more about our other in-home care services, call us today.

 

 

References:

Department of Health & Human Services. “Facts and Statistics: Physical Activity.” Web. 2017. NIH Senior Health. “Exercise: Benefits of Exercise.” Web. 2017.
Everyday Health. “10 Surprises About Heart-Healthy Exercise” by Beth W. Orenstein. Web. 2014.
American Senior Communities. “The Best Low Impact Exercises for Seniors.” Web. 2017.
AZ Central. “Low Impact Exercises for Seniors” by Kathryn Rateliff Barr. Web. 2017.

Maintaining Joy: Ways for Seniors to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Finding the Right Balance

The older we get, the more intense the holiday season seems to become, with an increasing number of responsibilities. There are parties to attend, relatives to visit, dinners to cook, gifts to buy and wrap – all within the span of just a few weeks. While these activities serve a greater purpose in celebrating with others, they still can be taxing on the body and mind. One of the primary reasons for this is that it’s more difficult to balance the rigorous holiday schedule with our own, and as a result, our health tends to go on the backburner.

A study out of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health found that someone is 100 percent more likely to catch a cold on a plane than in regular daily life.

The consequences of pushing ourselves to “do it all” during the holidays can become more severe with age. Without taking the proper precautions, seniors can experience everything from mental exhaustion to physical illness. Fortunately, there are steps that they can take to preserve their health and ensure their holiday season is full of comfort and joy.

 

Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

  • Dress appropriately: Even if it’s for less than five minutes, having protection against even mild cold temperatures is imperative. Seniors should wear layers of light, warm clothing, along with gloves, scarves, and hats. In extreme cold, seniors should avoid going outside altogether.
  • Combat germs and the flu: It isn’t just the holiday season; influenza gets the spotlight this time of year as well. To help reduce the risk of getting the flu, seniors should wash their hands frequently throughout the day, with soap and warm water (for at least 20 seconds) and use hand sanitizer while in public. Although the best time to get a flu vaccine is in mid-October, getting one in November and December can still help with risk reduction.
  • Stay active: If the summer sun inspires us to get out and exert energy, the gray overcast skies and snow do the exact opposite. Keeping a consistent workout schedule can be difficult during the holidays, but dedicating at least 30 minutes to moderate physical activity (with physician approval) can help keep the immune system strong.
  • Eat wisely: What goes better with good company than good food? There’s always plenty of rich foods and snacks to enjoy at holiday parties. However, seniors – especially those with existing health conditions – may want to think twice before overindulging so as not to create or worsen any short-term or long-term health problems. Seniors should opt for healthier options whenever possible, even if it’s just taking from the veggie tray instead of the bowl of chips.

  • Get plenty of rest: With the holiday season representing such a unique opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, there’s an ever-present temptation to do everything and soak up as much of the time as possible. However, it’s just as important that the time that is spent together is quality time, and to that end, seniors should make sure they are well-rested. They should maintain a consistent sleep schedule (allowing for 8 or more hours) and take breaks throughout the day.
  • Keep the immune system strong before flying: The last thing anyone wants to do before a flight is more prep work. That being said, giving the immune system a little boost before flying can help reduce the risk of illness and exhaustion. In the days leading up to air travel, seniors should do whatever they can do de-stress, even if it’s just practicing meditation or taking soothing baths. This will add extra protection against the plethora of germs from fellow passengers.

 

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

At Comfort Keepers®, we understand that hope, joy, and purpose are all central to senior wellbeing – especially during the holiday season. Our compassionate caregivers will foster these qualities for senior clients throughout the holidays and year-round, seeing that they have what they need to stay healthy and safe.

 

Learn more about our services by calling a local Comfort Keepers location today.

 

 

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season.” Web. 2018.

Care.com. “11 Tips for Keeping Seniors Healthy Over the Holidays,” by Megan Horst-Hatch. Web. 2018.

Health.com. “25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress,” by Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen. Web. 2018.

Healthline.com. “The Science of Why You Get Sick During the Holidays.” Web. 2018.