The COVID-19 pandemic has many seniors scared, and with good reason. The virus hits older people especially hard, and as a result, many seniors are choosing to stay indoors in an attempt to avoid exposure. Unfortunately, self-isolation has several negative side-effects. One of the most significant downsides of staying indoors is that seniors miss out on the regular exercise that can help keep them active and healthy.
That’s why it’s important — even in these extraordinary times — for seniors to find ways to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. Because the health benefits are undeniable.
Regular Exercise Offers Many Benefits
There’s a reason that about 50 percent of people who make new years’ resolutions say they intend to exercise more. Exercise has many health and mood benefits, both long and short term. Unfortunately, it can also be hard to sustain a new habit, especially one as initially challenging as getting more exercise. We’ve all heard the adage about how it gets easier the more often you do it — but the first and hardest step is getting started.
The numerous health benefits that seniors can attain from even a short span of light daily exercise are well documented. Research shows that sustained physical activity reduces healthcare costs, reduces the risk of falling and fractures, and enhances cognition — even if you don’t start exercising until later in life. Exercise can also help with heart health, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing mobility, and regulating sleep. Of course, with all those positives, it’s no surprise that exercise also plays a large role in helping seniors live happier lives.
Seniors Can Struggle To Start an Exercise Habit
When we’re younger, the main barrier between us and a healthy jog might be a lack of motivation. But as we get older, our health needs often become more complicated. Regardless of the evidence showing how physical activity can help prevent or mitigate falls or heart issues, fears of exercise triggering a health incident can make seniors feel like that healthy habit is out of reach. And of course, seniors can also struggle with a lack of motivation on top of physical barriers.
The first step is always to talk to a doctor about what is feasible based on your individual health needs. But there are many kinds of exercise available to people at all stages of mobility. The key is to get in the right mindset and to choose methods of getting active that are both sustainable in the long term and appealing in the short term.
Great Ways for Seniors to Get Active
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get out and get active, with myriad benefits to enjoy from even a routine 30-minute stroll. Walking can reduce blood sugar, assuage pain, promote blood circulation, release endorphins — and best of all, it’s totally free. Start by incorporating more walks into your daily life in small ways. For example, begin with a daily walk around the block, while staying mindful of social distancing guidelines. You’ll undoubtedly find the fresh air and sun to be a welcome change from your in-home isolation. After a little time, extend the duration and distance of your walks as you feel comfortable. Giving yourself a goal, such as walking to a pleasant location, can also help make the idea of a walk more appealing.
Jogging is a great way to get more cardiovascular exercise, but it can also be hard on joints. There are many other options for people who want a more rigorous workout, however. Using rowing or cycling machines are a great way to get your heart pumping and go easy on your joints, while staying safe in your home.
Other, more low-impact exercises can benefit people who are recovering from a serious injury or illness or have limited mobility. Simple strength training and flexibility exercises are an option for almost anyone. They can increase blood flow, release endorphins, help with joint health, and more. Talk to your doctor about options that might work for you.
Stay Active and Social, Even at Home
Before the pandemic, exercise was a great way to get social and stay active. After all, it’s easier to stay motivated when you’re working towards a goal with someone else. These days, social distancing guidelines mean seniors can’t exercise in groups. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still be social. Many exercise studios are now offering free online classes over social media. Try organizing a few friends to participate in these virtual classes together. Or, you can use video tools like FaceTime or Zoom to communicate with your friends, stay up-to-date on your fitness goals, and keep each other motivated.
In-Home Care Might be Right For You
For seniors looking to achieve more mobility, better health, and a greater range of activity, having a little in-home help could be a good option. Organizations like Generations Home Care offer trained in-home caregivers to assist with all their clients’ needs and goals. For those dealing with severely limited mobility, our caregivers can assist with daily tasks and work with their clients to best meet their needs.
We could all use a little extra help sometimes, whether it’s with getting the right amount of exercise or completing our daily chores. Generations Home Care will be there.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.