While staying safe at home has become our new normal, it doesn’t mean we should spend our time sitting in front of the TV! For older adults, particularly those diagnosed with chronic health conditions, sustaining an energetic lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic is a struggle that could seem insurmountable. However, research indicates there are many benefits of exercise for seniors, including:
- Fosters independence
- Lowers the danger of falls and subsequent fractures
- Reduces hypertension
- Improves strength and stamina
- Alleviates depression and anxiety
- Encourages healthy muscles, bones, and joints
- Helps control swelling and pain connected with arthritis
- And so much more
Despite the many advantages of exercise, the majority of seniors – 67% of them, according to another recent study – are spending the bulk of their day on sedentary activities, and by age 75, 1/3 of all men and ½ of women report participating in no physical exercise of any kind. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health conditions, as it can increase many of the symptoms associated with arthritis, hypertension, cancer and more.
At Inspired Home Care, providers of trusted Algonquin home health care, we love helping seniors get back into a healthier, more energetic lifestyle. Oftentimes, having someone to exercise with regularly tends to make a significant difference in making physical activity a routine, and an activity that seniors look forward to.
We recommend creating a playlist of the senior’s favorite upbeat music, setting a designated time every day for exercising so it becomes a habit, and making it fun! Here are several simple exercises you can try together with the older adults you love, right in the comfort of home:
- Sit and stand: Simply stand about 6” in front of a solid chair, with feet positioned in line with the hips and arms held straight out in front. Gradually bend the knees and sit down in the chair. Pause for a moment, and then press with the upper 2/3 of the feet to return to a standing position. Repeat ten times, twice per day. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by removing the chair and lowering into a squat (while holding onto a sturdy piece of furniture).
- Balance stance: Stand with feet together, and while holding onto a sturdy chair or piece of furniture for balance, place one foot directly in front of the other, heel to toe, keeping the feet in a straight line as if walking on a balance beam or tightrope. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. To help make the exercise a bit more challenging, try without holding onto the chair for support, and eventually, add in small hand weights.
- Farmer’s walk: Stand with feet in line with the hips, and a small weight in each hand, with arms held down to the sides and palms facing the body. With head lifted and spine straight, walk for 30 seconds, or as long as possible, and then turn and go the opposite way. More weight can be added to intensify the exercise, which will also help strengthen the hands.
Make certain to always check with the senior’s health care provider before beginning or changing any fitness regimen.
Contact our knowledgeable aging care team for additional exercise recommendations and resources, as well as for a companion in order to make exercise more enjoyable! You can reach us any time at 847-787-7572 to learn more about our top-rated elder care Algonquin. For information on each of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Locations Served page.