As adults get older, it becomes harder for them to stay active. They may have joint problems that make it difficult to get around, other health problems that make moving painful, fatigue, and a lack of motivation that make them unwilling to get up and exercise. It can be hard to see your parents stop doing the things they enjoy as they get older—being inactive can be detrimental to both their mental and physical health. Without being active, many seniors may become depressed, and their health may decline. As their children, you want the greatest lives for your senior parents, no matter their age, which is why it is important to encourage them to get and stay active.
Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
There are several benefits to seniors staying active, some of which include:
- Active seniors are less likely to get colon cancer, diabetes, or hypertension.
- Active seniors are less likely to fall and break bones.
- Activity can help seniors with anxiety and depression improve their symptoms.
- Active seniors can keep their joints, bones, and muscles healthier for longer.
- Seniors with arthritis can reduce their pain and the swelling of their joints by being active.
For older adults, being active isn’t going to look like it did when they were in their 20s. Instead of high-impact workouts or strenuous runs, it can be much gentler. Even a walk around the block can make a big difference in seniors’ health and happiness. Seniors may feel unmotivated because they think they are unable to participate in more difficult exercises, but the truth is that there are many options for them to feel empowered and healthy. It’s important that your parent speaks to a doctor about activities to know what is right for them.
Group Exercise Classes
In most communities, there are many opportunities for exercise classes directly offered to seniors, and you can encourage your parent to attend them. It’s important that the classes seniors attend are meant for them because they have different needs. While many younger people enjoy high-impact exercise, low-impact exercise is more suited to seniors. Low-impact exercises are gentler and slower than high-impact exercises, and therefore, they raise one’s heart rate slowly. This is important for seniors because high-impact exercise can be hard on their joints and too strenuous for their health and abilities.
Group exercise classes are also beneficial because they offer seniors the chance to interact with their peers, and socialization is crucial for staying happy and healthy. Some activities these classes may offer include water aerobics, chair yoga, stretching, body weight exercises, mobility exercises, and even dancing.
Many different organizations offer these classes, including assisted living homes. If your parent lives in an assisted living home, they can easily access these classes without the need for transportation, which can be especially beneficial if they cannot drive and you are too busy to drive them. Assisted living homes are also great for their community aspect—seniors can make friends in their exercise classes and spend more time with them at other times.
Walking is an excellent, easy, low-impact exercise for seniors. If they live in a walkable community, it’s also very accessible—all they need is themselves. It is also good for seniors to get outdoors. Because seniors are retired, don’t have many reasons to go out, and have less mobility, many rarely go outside, which can be harmful to their mental health. Walking outdoors can be a refreshing activity that benefits both their minds and bodies.
If your parent is reluctant to go on walks, you can go with them. This will provide them with more safety and more opportunity for socialization, which is great for their well-being.
Q: How Do I Keep My Elderly Parents Active?
A: Social support is an important factor in seniors’ activity. It’s important to encourage your parents and research the opportunities available to them. Another option is an assisted living community, which can offer many in-house opportunities for exercise, which are often easier for seniors since they don’t require transportation and are built into their routines.
Q: What Is the Most Common Barrier to Exercise for Seniors?
A: According to one study, the most frequent answer seniors gave in response to why they weren’t exercising was that they didn’t have enough time. However, if you encourage your elderly parents to exercise, it can actually be quite easy to fit it into their day. Exercise doesn’t have to be long or difficult—even something as simple as a ten-minute walk or a 20-minute chair yoga routine can help their health.
Q: What Are the Consequences of Inactivity in Seniors?
A: Inactivity can be detrimental to seniors’ well-being. It can cause them to have very little muscle mass and strength, which makes them more susceptible to injury and more dependent on others. Seniors who are not active are more likely to die of heart disease and develop colon cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. In addition, inactive seniors often have more mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Q: How Do You Avoid Losing Patience With Elderly Parents?
A: No matter how much you love them, the stress of caring for an elderly parent, on top of everything else going on in your life, can sometimes make one lose patience with them. One way to avoid getting angry with them, and to preserve your relationship, is to consider assisted living. This can be especially important if you need help with Alzheimer’s care in Lakewood, CO. When your parent is in an assisted living home, the time you spend with them can be just that—quality time.
Consider Assisted Living
If your parent is having trouble staying active while living at home, assisted living can be a great alternative. At an assisted living facility, there will be opportunities for exercise classes, physical therapy, and scheduled outings that are easily accessible. Especially for seniors who may feel unsafe alone or need extra assistance, they can get the help they need to stay active from the professionals at an assisted living home. This can also help take some stress off your hands regarding their care, so you can concentrate on loving them rather than making sure their needs are taken care of. Rocky Mountain Assisted Living offers outings and physical therapy exercise to ensure your senior parents stay as healthy as they can. Contact us today for more information.