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 older adults, particularly people with chronic health problems, sustaining an active lifestyle throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is a struggle that may seem impossible. Nonetheless, research indicates that there are many benefits of exercise for older adults living with chronic conditions, including:
- Builds independence
- Minimizes the risk of falls and subsequent fractures
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves strength and stamina
- Eases depression and anxiety
- Encourages healthy bones, joints and muscles
- Helps control swelling and pain connected with arthritis
- And much more
In spite of the various benefits of exercise, the majority of older adults – 67% of them, per another recent research study – are spending the majority of their day on sedentary activities, and by age 75, 1/3 of men and ½ of women report participating in no physical activity at all. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health issues, as it can exacerbate many of the symptoms associated with metabolic dysfunction, cancer, hypertension and more.
At Hearts at Home In-Home Care, providers of elder care services in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, we love helping older adults get back into a much healthier, more active lifestyle. Oftentimes, having someone to work out with can make a major difference in making exercise a routine, and something that older adults look forward to.
We suggest putting together a playlist of the senior’s favorite upbeat music, setting a designated time each day for exercising so it becomes a habit, and making it fun! Here are some simple exercises you can try with the older adults you love, right within the comfort of home:
- Sit and stand: Simply stand about 6” in front of a sturdy 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. Pause for a second, and then press using the upper 2/3 of the feet to go back to a standing position. Repeat 10 times, twice a day. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by removing the chair and lowering into a squat (while holding onto a sturdy piece of furniture).
- Balance stance: Stand with feet together, and while grasping onto a sturdy piece of furniture or chair for balance, place one foot directly in front of the other, heel to toe, keeping the feet in a straight line as though walking on a balance beam or tightrope. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. To make the exercise a little 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 your 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 physician before starting or changing any fitness regimen.
Contact our knowledgeable aging care team for additional resources and exercise recommendations, and for a companion to make exercise more fulfilling! Feel free to reach us any time at 913-440-4209 to learn more about our top-rated elder care services in Kansas City and the surrounding areas.