While staying safe at home has become our new normal, that does not mean we should spend our time stagnant in front of the TV! For older adults, especially individuals with chronic health issues, maintaining an active lifestyle throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is a struggle that may seem insurmountable. Yet research shows there are numerous benefits of physical activity for the elderly experiencing chronic health issues, such as:
- Builds independence
- Reduces the chance of falls and subsequent fractures
- Reduces blood pressure
- Increases stamina and strength
- Eases depression and anxiety
- Promotes healthy muscles, bones, and joints
- Helps control pain and swelling associated with arthritis
- And more
In spite of the many benefits of exercise, a large portion 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 males and ½ of females report engaging in no regular exercise whatsoever. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health conditions, as it can increase many of the symptoms associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and more.
At Morning Glory Home Care, the experts in home health care in Alton, IL and the surrounding communities, we love helping seniors get back into a much healthier, more energetic lifestyle. Oftentimes, having someone to work out with can make a huge difference in making exercise a routine, and something that seniors look forward to.
We suggest making a playlist of the senior’s favorite upbeat music, setting a specific time every day for working out so 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 six inches in front of a solid chair, with feet placed in line with the hips and arms held straight out in front. Gradually bend the knees and sit down in the chair. Pause for a moment, and then press using the upper 2/3 of the feet to go back to a standing position. Repeat 10 times, twice per day. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by eliminating 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 chair or piece of furniture for balance, place one foot directly in front of the other, heel to toe, keeping the 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 before beginning or changing any exercise routine.
Reach out to our knowledgeable aging care team for additional exercise recommendations and resources, as well as for a companion to make health and fitness more fun! Feel free to connect with us any time at 618-667-8400 to learn more about our top-rated home health care in Alton, IL and the surrounding communities.