Staying physically fit is a challenge for even the best of us. Our lives are so filled with jobs, kids, errands (and maybe a bit of sleep if we’re lucky) that there never seems to be enough time to work out. But the benefits of regular exercise are undeniable, so we do the best we can. As difficult as it is for younger people to exercise regularly, it’s even more challenging for seniors whose muscles and bones have weakened with age. Regular aerobic and strength-training exercise provide tremendous benefits to aging bodies. Exercise can help prevent many of the common health problems that come with aging. And strong bones and muscles can make day-to-day activities much easier. So it’s vital seniors find ways to include exercise in their everyday activities.
The Centers for Disease Controls provides guidelines for the amount of exercise older adults need. At a minimum, they recommend seniors get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (like brisk walking) every week) as well as muscle-strengthening activities at least twice per week that exercise all major muscle groups. If 150 minutes of aerobic activity sounds like too much, the CDC says that you can still get the same benefits by performing 75 minutes of vigorous exercises (like running or jogging) every week. For even better results, the CDC suggests seniors get 3o0 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week (or 150 minutes of vigorous activity) in addition to the 2 days of muscle strengthening exercises.
What Counts as Exercise?
Aerobic activity is exercise that gets your heart beating faster and your breathing harder. So really, any activity can be aerobic as long as it last for more than 10 minutes. Walking is a great aerobic activity but so is dancing or gardening or playing with grandkids. The trick is to be creative and vary your activities as much as possible every day.
Muscle-strengthening exercises are activities that make your muscles stronger. This can be accomplished by lifting weights (make sure you start light), using resistance bands, or with exercises like pushups or sit ups. But it doesn’t all have to be lifting. Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that helps with muscle development and balance. Whatever exercises you choose, be consistent and you’ll soon start seeing the results.
Sometimes Help is Needed
Of course some homebound or disabled seniors have trouble with even light exercise. In these situations, a home care aid can be of great service. Home care aids work in their client’s homes helping with everyday tasks including simples exercises like standing and sitting. For some seniors, physical weakness can be a major contributor to damaging falls and home care aids can provide support as they move around their homes.
Generations Home Care serves seniors in the greater Phoenix area. If you’d like more information on how can help, take a look at our complete list of services and then call 602-595-HOME (4663) to schedule you free in-home consultation. We’ll talk through your needs and create a care plan that help you live a fuller more healthy life.