We’re on the cusp of a brand new year, and we all realize what this means: time to declare your resolutions! If you’re similar to most people, you’ll start with the best of intentions. But as time goes by and life gets busier, you could find your determination slipping away until you’ve lost your resolve to accomplish that goal altogether.
This year, why not try something somewhat different? Sit down with a senior loved one, and think of a New Year’s resolution you can keep together! Healthy routines are a lot simpler to keep when you’ve got an accountability partner.
A particularly vital habit for older adults to adopt is to meet weekly recommended exercise guidelines. Physical activity gives seniors a boost in a variety of ways:
- 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 suggest a minimum of 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for older adults, as well as balance/strengthening training. Prior to beginning a new exercise regimen, older adults should first talk to their doctors for approval and for any other tips and/or constraints to follow. Then, get going with these tips:
Start slowly. If a loved one has led a sedentary life as of late, it’s imperative that you take it easy and build up to the desired activity level over time. Not only can injury happen by jumping in too fast to an exercise program, but it can quickly become discouraging.
Be goal oriented. Goals ought to be both specific and achievable. Examples include:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Determine what type of exercise to begin with.
- Tomorrow: Look into local exercise class programs – at the senior center, YMCA, gym, etc. If an in-home exercise program is preferred or more appropriate, find an online program to follow. (Keep in mind: committing to a consistent walk in the park or just around the block is perfectly fine too!)
- By the end of the week: Purchase any required gear: hand weights, shoes, clothing, bathing suit, etc.
- Long-range goals:
- In six months, I am going to have a healthier BMI and blood pressure level.
- By spring, I will be able to walk through the zoo with the grandchildren.
- This time next year, I’ll be swimming five laps in the pool, five days a week.
Monitor progress. Tracking your progress towards these goals provides great motivation to stay on track! Find a Monthly Progress Test here, together with other helpful tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards accomplishing goals alongside the senior means you can also celebrate together when milestones are achieved – or simply reward yourselves for taking action to improve quality of life and better health while aging. Plan a monthly lunch date or other pleasurable activity and have fun making memories together!
If an older adult in your life is interested in some added inspiration and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Live Free Home Health Care’s Bristol home health services are the ideal solution! Give us a call at 603-217-0149 to find out how we can help. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities where our award-winning home care services are available.