December 13, 2023 by
The countdown is on to the new year, which means only one thing: deciding on a resolution that you’ll actually be motivated to keep. How about setting a goal that will help older adults improve health and happiness while simultaneously improving your own?
A regular exercise routine is crucial for all of us, but not always easy to start or maintain. One great way to stay motivated is to find an accountability partner and encourage each other. If you’re providing care for an older family member, you have the perfect opportunity to help each other become more physically fit! But it’s important to first know how much and what types of exercise are best for seniors.
What’s the Right Amount of Exercise for Older Adults?
This varies from one individual to the next, and should always begin with a visit to the doctor for a full check-up and recommendations. Whatever a person’s ability level, appropriate exercise is important. It improves muscle mass, bone density, heart and lung functioning, and much more, including boosting mood and emotional wellbeing.
There are some general guidelines for exercising in aging, and the news couldn’t be better: even a small amount of physical activity can make a big difference. As little as 15 – 20 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (swimming, running, playing basketball or tennis) has been shown to lower mortality rate by 16 – 40%.
What Are Some Good Exercises for Older Adults?
Some of the best aerobic exercises to consider, which can be modified as needed based on ability level, include:
- Walking, especially in nature, to experience varied terrains and the psychological effects that come from spending time outdoors, including a boost in mood, lowered anxiety and stress, and more.
- Dancing, which helps strengthen multiple muscle groups while improving balance and mood – and, if dancing with a partner, socialization too.
- Cycling, either on an outdoor or stationary bike: a great low impact activity that benefits the heart, lungs, and large muscles.
How to Get Started
Getting started with a new fitness program is often the hardest part. Here are some tips to help you both achieve success:
- Choose activities that are fun. With so many options, there’s no reason to settle for a boring, tedious routine.
- Start slowly and set attainable goals. Then celebrate reaching them!
- Be sure to stay hydrated.
- Include warm-up and cool-down periods.
- If any pain or discomfort is experienced, stop.
Let Us Help!
A caregiver from At Home Independent Living makes a great exercise buddy to help older adults improve health by staying on track with a new or existing physical fitness program. We can provide transportation to the gym, pool, senior center, or wherever else the person would like to go. We also make great walking partners! Reach out to us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to find out more about our senior care services in Syracuse, Fayetteville, Salina, and the surrounding areas.