Although staying safe at home has become our new normal, that doesn’t mean we should spend our time stagnant in front of the TV! For senior loved ones, specifically those with chronic health conditions, maintaining an energetic lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge that may seem insurmountable. Yet, research indicates the importance of exercise for seniors with chronic conditions and the many benefits it provides, including:
- Builds independence
- Lowers the chance of falls and subsequent fractures
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases strength and stamina
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Encourages healthy bones, joints and muscles
- Helps manage pain and swelling linked to arthritis
- And much more
In spite of the numerous advantages of exercise, the majority of older adults – 67% of them, per another recent research study – are spending the bulk of their day on sedentary activities, and by age 75, 1/3 of all males and ½ of all females report participating in no physical exercise 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 hypertension, cancer, arthritis and more.
At-Home Care Company, offering top-rated senior care in Urbandale, IA and the surrounding areas, takes pride in helping seniors get back into a healthier, more active lifestyle. Sometimes, having a person to work out with tends to make a huge difference in making physical activity a routine, and something that older adults look forward to.
We suggest creating a playlist of the senior’s favorite upbeat music, setting a specific time every day for exercising so that it becomes a habit, and making it fun! Here are several simple exercises you can try with the seniors you love, right in 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 second, and then press with the upper 2/3 of the feet to go back to a standing position. Repeat 10 times, twice daily. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by removing 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 your feet in a straight line as if walking on a balance beam or tightrope. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. To make the exercise a bit 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 the 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 certain to always check with the older adult’s health care provider prior to starting or changing any workout routine.
For trusted senior care in Urbandale, IA and the surrounding areas, reach out to our highly-trained aging care team for further resources and exercise recommendations, and for a companion to make physical fitness more fulfilling! You can reach us any time at (515) 292-2650.