While staying safe at home has become our new normal, that doesn’t mean we should spend our time stagnant in front of the TV! For senior loved ones, especially people diagnosed with chronic health conditions, maintaining an active lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic is a struggle which may seem impossible. However, studies have shown that there are many benefits of exercise for the elderly, such as:
- Encourages independence
- Minimizes the danger of falls and subsequent fractures
- Lowers blood pressure levels
- Improves strength and stamina
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Promotes healthy muscles, bones, and joints
- Helps manage swelling and pain connected to arthritis
- And so much more
Despite the many advantages of exercise, a large portion 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 all women report engaging in no physical activity at all. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health conditions, as it can increase many of the symptoms associated with heart disease, hypertension, cancer and more.
At Live Free Home Health Care, the experts in home care in Bristol and the surrounding areas, we love helping older adults get back into a much healthier, more active lifestyle. Often, having someone to exercise with can make all the difference in making exercise a habit, 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 specific time each day for working out so it becomes a routine, and making it fun! Below are a few simple exercises you can try together with the older adults you love, right within the comfort of home:
- Sit and stand: Simply stand about six inches in front of a solid chair, with feet placed in line with the hips and arms held straight out in front. Gradually bend the knees and sit down in the chair. Rest for a second, and then press using the upper 2/3 of the feet to return to a standing position. Repeat 10 times, twice daily. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by removing the chair and lowering into a squat (while holding onto a heavy-duty piece of furniture).
- Balance stance: Stand with feet together, and while grasping 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 little 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, that will also help strengthen the hands.
Remember to always check with the senior’s physician before beginning or changing any exercise routine.
Reach out to our professional aging care team for further resources and exercise recommendations, and for a companion to make exercise more fun! You can connect with us any time at 603-217-0149 to learn more about our trusted home care in Bristol and the surrounding areas.