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April 21, 2020

Physical Activity for Senior Care

In one study, 100 nursing-home residents performed resistance exercises three times a week for 10 weeks. At the end, the exercise group could lift significantly more weight, climb more stairs, and walk faster and farther than their sedentary counterparts.

It’s been proven time and again that exercise is good for seniors’ physical and mental health. Regular exercise, even in small amounts, can improve mood, relieve stress and improve health. According to the CDC, four of the five most expensive health conditions older adults face can be prevented or managed with physical activity. But, only about 35% of adults over the age of 65 are physically active. 

Any senior starting a new exercise plan should consult with their physician. And, it is helpful for family and members of the care team to assist and support physical activity in any way they can. 

For those that are physically able to begin an exercise program, regular movement can help them live a more vibrant and healthy life. Some of the health benefits include:

  • Improved mental health, mood and outlook
  • Prevention, or improvement of, diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and osteoporosis
  • Reduced pain from arthritis and minimizing its severity
  • Decreased risk of falls

Each individual has different needs when it comes to exercise and varying health conditions that may need to be taken into consideration before beginning an exercise regimen. A health professional to determine the best approach to physical activity with senior care.

There are a variety of ways to incorporate aerobic activity, strength-building exercises, stretching and balance – all without leaving the comfort of home! 

Aerobic exercise – Walking in place, dancing or aerobic routines can help get the heart rate up. These activities improve cardiovascular health and help older adults maintain a healthy weight. 

Strength building exercises – there are many easy strength-building exercises that can help seniors build the muscles they need to do everyday activities and prevent muscle loss. And, exercises can be done with household items or using body weight, so no expensive equipment is required. 

Stretching – Stretching before and after exercise can help prevent soreness after exercise. And, the additional benefit is improved flexibility, which is good for older adult’s physical health. For those looking to improve their flexibility even more, there are exercise routines available online that include yoga or stretching routines specifically for seniors.

Balance exercises – Balance exercises help seniors prevent falls and improve mobility. Yoga, tai chi, and other low-impact activities can all help improve balance and overall physical health.

Those that need a little assistance getting started should not hesitate to reach out to their doctor, family or caregiver. It is never too late to adopt an active lifestyle!

 

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

For seniors that need a little extra help living an active lifestyle, Comfort Keepers caregivers can help with encouragement, support and assistance with physician-prescribed exercise plans. And, caregivers can encourage overall health through meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and activities. Our custom care plans focus on physical and mental health and wellness activities. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

 

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Adults Need More Physical Activity.” Web. 2019.

Health and Human Services. “Facts & Statistics: Physical Activity.” Web. 2017.

National Council on Aging. “Exercise Programs That Promote Senior Fitness.” Web.

Reader’s Digest Canada, “5 of the Best Exercises for Seniors to Build Strength, Improve Balance and Boost Heart Health.” Web. 

Harvard Health Publishing. “Exercise after age 70.” Web. 2007.

 

 

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