During the winter months, exercising is the last thing many of us want to do. Although, we all know how important it is to continue to stay active, and a good exercise regime year
around will help maintain a healthy lifestyle. With that said, it isn’t only important for you to continue to exercise but to make sure it is a goal for your aging parent as well. This is an even trickier battle, since the winter months can be dangerous, and going outside isn’t always the best plan. “A regular exercise program is the best available prescription for independent, active and healthy aging”, according to the AARP, the National Institute on Aging and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A large health study reported in 2011 suggests that all adults — including seniors — can benefit from as little as 15 minutes per day of moderately heart-pumping exercise. About 30 minutes is the official
recommendation, in addition to at least two sessions per week of muscle-strengthening activity or exercise (www.livestrong.com).
Here is what is essential for your parent to be fitted for an exercise regime-one that will be easy for he/she to follow and maintain, all the while keeping it fun!
- Find out what may interest them. They may want to do something as simple as
walk in place while they watch the news. Others parents may want to spice it up a bit and learn a new dance. If water aerobics is something that interests them, it may be worth it to help them get to a class once or twice a week.
- Provide them with the tools they need. A must, is a set of light weight dumbbells. You can also find great workout videos out there for all age levels. Help them find comfortable clothes and shoes to wear during their exercise routines. If they look good, they will feel good!
- Set up a plan. Find a professional that can help write out a daily workout schedule. Having a plan to follow will most definitely keep the motivation going. It may be a good idea to coordinate a personal training session with that professional from time to time.
- Coordinate group exercise. Sometimes it is more fun to workout in groups. Plus, know that others are depending on you will prevent your parent from quitting. Try to form a group that gets together once a week for your parent to join. Even set it up at their home if there is room and leaving isn’t an option.
- Create an emergency plan. Exercise, as valuable as it is, can be dangerous
amongst the aging. This is extremely true when exercise is being done at the home, alone. It would be beneficial and safe for your parent to have an emergency plan in place. For example, have your parent make a quick phone call to you or another loved one, letting them know they are starting their workout regime for that day.
There is so much evidence that supports exercise as you age. It helps your heart, lungs, bones, muscles, brain, and everything in between. Take the time to make exercise a goal in your life and let that shine through to your parent. This is a valuable way to spend time with your loved one all the while keeping them safe, active, and healthy.