When aging adults are dealing with lots of different health issue, it’s easy for them to grow sedentary. With an inactive lifestyle, they can become quite weak and have poor balance and flexibility. Health experts agree that even aging adults with physical challenges can benefit from some level of exercise. Family caregivers should take the time to create an exercise regimen for their aging loved one, so they can be as healthy and fit as they can.
Do Seniors Really Benefit from Exercise?
Health experts agree that there is no age limit to getting benefits from exercise. Aging adults with one or more chronic conditions can still engage in exercise, even if they are in a wheelchair or bedridden. There are many benefits from exercise that are too good for aging adults to miss out on. Family caregivers and elder care providers can encourage seniors to participate, after checking with the doctor.
These are just a few of the benefits that seniors get from age-appropriate exercise and activity:
- Body strength: Stronger muscles lead to greater range of motion and therefore more independence. Not only will seniors be able to walk, bend and lift better, they’ll feel better about their abilities.
- Improved balance: When the core is strengthened, it improves balance in aging adults. Slip and fall accidents are dangerous to seniors, so better balance reduces the risk.
- Healing and pain management: With regular exercise, studies show that seniors actually heal from injuries faster and with less pain than those who are sedentary. Exercise helps the body be the best version of itself.
- Better movement: With many seniors, it’s hard to do simple things like getting out of a chair or carrying a laundry basket. With exercise, their strength increases, and they experience more confident movement.
- Boosts mood: Exercise is a proven mood boost, because it releases feel-good chemicals in the brain and can reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.
How to Get Seniors to Exercise
It can be a challenge to get seniors up off the couch and into an exercise mode. Many family caregivers and elder care providers find that aging adults often need some real encouragement and even a workout partner to help them go through the routine. Many exercises can be done in a chair in a seated position, such as arm raises, leg lifts, and knee lifts. For some seniors, yoga and tai chi are excellent ways to build strength and stamina. Other exercise ideas include walking, swimming, exercise bike and chair aerobics.
When it comes to staying healthy, strong and fit, seniors should participate in regular exercises under their doctor’s supervision. Even if they have chronic illness, injury or age-related health issues, elderly adults can still benefit from being active.
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