Always remember to consult with a doctor before adding new exercise to your routine.
No matter what our body’s limitations are, we may all be able to add some type of exercise to our daily routine. Exercise does not have to be jumping around or sweating. Simple stretching, walking and meditation are all forms of exercise. Caregivers may encourage patients to exercise starting with just 15 minutes a day, and this window can be adjusted up or down depending on the patient’s preferences.
Walking outside may help boost your patient’s mood and activity level with the added benefit of Vitamin D. Keep in mind that patients with a chronic condition, balance issues or injuries should consult with their doctor first. However, adding a short walk with a goal or destination in mind may give your patient something to look forward to each day.
If an outdoor walk is not an option, try keeping a daily goal for steps and achieve that by drinking more water and refilling your glass frequently, walking to the kitchen and back.
Yoga and Stretching
Yoga may help with core stability and body mobility and it helps build muscle strength. The mindful breathing exercises that are used during yoga may also be a health benefit. Increased flexibility may help with other daily activities too!
To start, purchase a yoga mat for extra stability and comfort (and to avoid slipping), then take off your shoes and socks and begin! This yoga mat by Gaiam can be purchased on Amazon or at a local sporting goods store.
Yoga poses may eventually strengthen your bones in addition to the muscle strengthening. Body weight poses may seem easy at first, but using your own body’s weight to stretch and balance will strengthen your body with practice. If you like to see photos and descriptions of different yoga poses, here’s an article from Lifeline with yoga poses for older adults. If you prefer to follow along with videos, here’s a 7 minute video by Silver Sneakers on Youtube particularly for older adults, as well as this yoga for beginners video.
Even just centering yourself on your mat, sitting up straight and clearing your mind with several deep breaths may help improve your mood, posture and stress level.
If you are able to join a local pool, swimming is a great way to lightly exercise while putting minimal stress on your bones and joints. Even if you are not a swimmer, you can sign up for water aerobics classes that are taught in the shallow end and still benefit from the light impact workout.
At- Home Fitness
Caregivers and patients both benefit from at-home workouts. These activities can be performed whenever you have an available window of time in the comfort of your own home. Follow along with Youtube videos for a Pilates class, or spend 15 minutes with light weights or resistance bands to stretch and gently work muscles. Again, make sure to consult with a doctor before attempting anything you have not tried before.
Take a look at this helpful article from the inspiring Silver Sneakers for more!