We’re on the edge of a fresh new year, and we all know what that means: time to declare your resolutions! If you’re like most people, you’ll begin with the best of intentions. But as time passes and life gets busier, you could find your determination diminishing until you have lost your resolve to accomplish that goal altogether.
This year, why not try something a little different? Sit down with an older loved one, and come up with a New Year’s resolution you can keep together! Healthy patterns are much easier to keep when you’ve got an accountability partner.
An especially essential habit for older adults to adopt is to meet the recommended weekly exercise guidelines. Exercise improves senior health and offers a boost in lots of ways such as:
- Improved flexibility and balance
- Improved mental health
- Stronger muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased independence, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises for older adults, as well as balance/strengthening activities. Prior to incorporating an exercise program into a weekly routine, seniors should first check with their doctors for approval and for any other tips and/or restrictions to adhere to. Then, begin with these guidelines:
Start at a gradual pace. If a loved one has led an inactive lifestyle recently, it’s vital that you take it easy and gradually work up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury happen by jumping in too fast to an exercise program, but it can very quickly become discouraging.
Set goals. Goals should always be both specific and achievable. For example:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Decide what type of exercise to start.
- Tomorrow: Take a look at local exercise class opportunities – at the senior center, YMCA, gym, etc. If an at-home exercise program is preferred or more suitable, find an online program to follow. (Remember: simply committing to a consistent walk at the park or around the neighborhood is perfectly fine too!)
- By the end of this week: Obtain any essential equipment: shoes, bathing suit, comfortable clothing, handheld weights, etc.
- Long-range goals:
- In half a year, I am going to have a healthier BMI and blood pressure level.
- By spring, I’ll be in a position to walk through the zoo with the grandkids.
- This time next year, I’ll be swimming five laps in the pool, five days per week.
Monitor improvements. Keeping track of your progress towards these goals provides great motivation to keep going! Find a Monthly Progress Test here, along with other helpful tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards accomplishing goals with the senior means you can also celebrate together when milestones are achieved – or simply reward yourselves for taking steps to boost your wellbeing. Plan a monthly lunch date or some other rewarding activity and have fun building experiences with each other!
If an older loved one in your life would like some extra inspiration and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Inspired Home Care’s professional Barrington senior care experts are the ideal solution! Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to find out how we can help. Visit our Locations Served page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.