We’re on the cusp of a fresh year, and we all know very well what that means: time to declare your resolutions! If you are similar to most people, you will begin with the best of intentions. But as time goes by and life gets busier, you might find your determination shrinking until you have lost your resolve to achieve that goal altogether.
This time around, why not try something a little different? Sit back with an older loved one, and think of a New Year’s resolution you can keep together! Healthy behaviors are a lot easier to keep when you have an accountability partner.
An extremely beneficial habit for older adults to embrace is to meet weekly physical exercise recommendations. Exercise gives seniors a boost in a variety of ways:
- Improved flexibility and balance
- Enhanced mental health and wellbeing
- Stronger muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased independence, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest at least 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic workout for seniors, combined with balance/strengthening training. Before beginning an exercise program, seniors should first talk with their doctors for approval and any other tips and/or restrictions to follow. Then, get going with the following tips:
Start slowly. Making a commitment to physical fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. If an older adult has led a non-active life as of late, it is important to take it easy and over time work up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury happen by diving in too fast to a fitness program, but it can quickly become frustrating.
Be goal-oriented. Goals should always be both specific and attainable. For example:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Determine what type of exercise to begin.
- Tomorrow: Check out local exercise class programs – at the senior center, YMCA, gym, etc. If an in-home workout program is preferred or more suitable, find a web-based program to follow. (Remember: just committing to a regular walk in the park or around the block is perfectly okay too!)
- By the end of this week: Obtain any required equipment: hand weights, shoes, clothing, bathing suit, etc.
- Long-term goals:
- In 6 months, I’ll have a healthier BMI and blood pressure.
- By spring, I am going to be in a position to walk through the zoo with the grandkids.
- This time next year, I’ll be swimming five laps in the pool, five days a week.
Track progress. Tracking your progress towards these goals offers great inspiration to stay with it! Find a Monthly Progress Test, along with other practical tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards reaching goals alongside the senior means you can also celebrate together when objectives are reached – or simply reward yourselves for doing your best to enhance your health. Plan a monthly lunch date or other enjoyable activity and have fun making memories with each other!
If an older adult you know would like some additional encouragement and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Abby Senior Care’s experts in home care in Denver, CO and the surrounding communities are the ideal solution! Call us at 303-699-8840 to learn how we can help.