Although staying safe at home has become our new normal, that does not mean we should spend our time stagnant in front of the television! For older adults, especially those diagnosed with chronic health conditions, maintaining an energetic lifestyle throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge that may seem insurmountable. Yet studies have shown that regular exercises for older adults with chronic conditions provide many great positive benefits, such as:
- Encourages independence
- Decreases the chance of falls and subsequent fractures
- Reduces blood pressure levels
- Improves stamina and strength
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Encourages healthy bones, joints and muscles
- Helps control pain and swelling connected with arthritis
- And more
In spite of the many advantages of exercise, a large portion of older adults – 67% of them, according to another recent research study – are spending the majority of their day on sedentary activities, and by age 75, 1/3 of all males and ½ of females report participating in no exercise whatsoever. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health conditions, as it can increase many of the symptoms associated with dementia, hypertension, cancer and more.
At Home With You Senior Care, providers of trusted home and memory care in Westminster and the surrounding communities, we love helping older adults get back into a healthier, more energetic lifestyle. Often, having someone to work out with makes all the difference in developing exercise into a routine, and an activity that older adults look forward to.
We suggest putting together a playlist of the older adult’s favorite upbeat music, setting a designated time each day for working out so that it becomes a habit, and making it fun! Here are a few simple exercises for older adults you can try right within the comfort of home:
- Sit and stand: Simply stand about six inches in front of a solid chair, with feet positioned in line with the hips and arms held straight out in front. Slowly bend the knees and sit down in the chair. Pause for a second, and then press using the upper 2/3 of the feet to go back to a standing position. Repeat ten times, twice each 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 your feet in a straight line as though walking on a tightrope or balance beam. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. To 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 your 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.
Don’t forget to always check with the senior’s physician before beginning or changing any exercise program.
Reach out to our highly-trained aging care team for more exercise recommendations and resources, and for a companion to make exercise more fulfilling! You can connect with us any time at 410-756-0959 to learn more about our top-rated home care and memory care in Westminster and the surrounding communities.