Getting your aging parents up and around is not always the easiest prospect.
Often times as age and medical problems make moving painful, we tend to sit more and move less. How can you help your parents keep moving and grooving?
Here are some easy exercise ideas that almost any senior can do:
Swimming – Although your elderly parent may not be able to butterfly-stroke across the pool, swimming is an excellent form of exercise. Simply treading water can keep the body moving while burning calories.
One of the more enticing aspects of this activity is the zero-impact environment that can prevent bone damage and jostling of joints. The body’s weight is greatly reduced while in the water due to buoyancy. This helps the elderly move about without as much strain on the body.
Enjoyable Activities – Does your parent enjoy bowling? Perhaps golf is the sport of choice in your household. One of the easiest forms of exercise and physical activity is doing something you enjoy.
Even something as basic as gardening can keep the body in motion if your aging parent spends several hours weeding and caring for an entire yard worth of plants. By doing something enjoyable, the exercise seems less like work and more of a necessity to be active.
Free weights – For the parents that are chair-bound, using free weights can be beneficial for upper body strength. While you don’t have to load Mom and Dad up with 50 pound dumbbells, adding weight to movement in any regard is beneficial.
Free weights can be purchased weighing as little as one pound and up. For the best results, start with lower weights and work his or her way up until you meet a movement threshold.
Yoga – While it may be doubtful to fold your aging parents up like a pretzel, yoga can be greatly beneficial in order to limber up as well as add movement to their day. You don’t want to push too hard using some positions and activities in yoga, but it can improve blood flow as well as stretch limbs to improve your aging parent’s range of motion.
You may be amazed at what activity the elderly individual can accommodate after a week of easy going yoga practices.
Simple Walking – Go for a leisurely stroll around the block or at the park. Walking can be very beneficial in any respect. Many elderly individuals will walk laps around the local mall in the mornings. This could be a way to get your parents out of the house and meet new people while getting some form of exercise.
A stroll through nature while having a conversation can be enlightening and healthy while spending quality time with each other.
While some elderly individuals are still able to play vigorous games of tennis or ride miles on a mountain bike, not everyone ages so gracefully. Consult your parent’s physician before committing to intense exercise and get a medical opinion on whether the activity is conducive to proper health. Some activities are simply not going to be realistic for your aging parent, and that’s OK.
Rachael Cherry is a wife, mother, and writer who is passionate about helping connect families in need with high quality caregivers. She has taken that passion and put it to work through NannyPro, a respected online nanny and elderly care referral service. Learn more by visiting @NannyPro on Twitter.