Although staying safe at home has become our new normal, that does not mean we should spend our time stagnant in front of the television! For older adults, particularly those with chronic health concerns, maintaining an energetic lifestyle throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge which may seem insurmountable. However, research shows the importance of exercise for seniors with chronic conditions and the many great health benefits it provides, including:
- Fosters independence
- Lowers the chance of falls and subsequent fractures
- Reduces blood pressure
- Increases stamina and strength
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Promotes healthy bones, joints and muscles
- Helps control pain and swelling associated with arthritis
- And a lot more
Despite the numerous advantages of exercise, a large portion of seniors – 67% of them, according to another recent study – are spending the majority of their day on sedentary activities, and by age 75, 1/3 of all men and ½ of most women report participating in no physical activity of any kind. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health issues, as it can exacerbate many of the symptoms associated with arthritis, heart disease, depression and more.
At Abby Senior Care, providers of elder care services in Denver and the surrounding communities, we love helping older adults with chronic health conditions get back into a much healthier, more active lifestyle. Sometimes, having a person to exercise with can make a major difference in establishing an exercise routine, and something that seniors look forward to.
We recommend creating a playlist of the senior’s favorite upbeat music, setting a designated time each day for exercising so it becomes a habit, and making it fun! Below are a few simple exercises you can try with the seniors you love, right within the comfort of home:
- Sit and stand: Simply stand about 6” in front of a solid chair, with feet placed in line with the hips and arms held straight out in front. Slowly bend the knees and sit down in the chair. Rest for a moment, and then press with the upper 2/3 of the feet to resume a standing position. Repeat 10 times, twice a day. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by eliminating 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 though walking on a balance beam or tightrope. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. To 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, which will also help strengthen the hands.
Make sure to always check with the older adult’s doctor before beginning or changing any exercise routine.
Contact our professional aging care team for more resources and exercise recommendations that can benefit seniors with chronic conditions, and for a companion to help make physical fitness more fun! Feel free to connect with us any time at 303-699-8840 to learn more about our exceptional elder care services in Denver and the surrounding communities.