We are on the verge of a brand new year, and we all know what that means: time to make some resolutions! If you are similar to most people, you will begin with the best of intentions. But as the days go by and life gets busier, you could find your resolve diminishing until you’ve lost your determination to accomplish that goal altogether.
This time around, why not try something somewhat different? Sit back with a senior loved one, and think of a New Year’s resolution you can easily keep together! Healthy habits are a lot easier to keep when you have an accountability partner.
An incredibly important habit for older adults to adopt is to meet recommended weekly exercise guidelines. Exercise is a natural path to better aging and gives seniors a boost in many ways:
- Improved flexibility and balance
- Enhanced mental health
- Strengthened muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased independence, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest at least 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic workout for older adults, combined with balance/strengthening exercises. Prior to starting a new exercise routine, seniors should first seek advice from their doctors for approval and any other recommendations and/or constraints to follow. Then, get going with these suggestions:
Start gradually. If a loved one has led a less active lifestyle lately, it’s important that you take it easy and slowly build up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury happen by jumping in too fast to an exercise program, but it can easily become discouraging.
Be goal oriented. Goals should be both specific and achievable. For example:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Decide what type of exercise to begin.
- Tomorrow: Check out local exercise class options – at the YMCA, senior center, gym, etc. If an in-home workout program is preferred or more appropriate, find a web-based program to use. (Keep in mind: just committing to a consistent walk in the park or around the neighborhood is absolutely okay too!)
- By the end of the week: Buy any necessary equipment: shoes, bathing suit, comfortable clothing, handheld weights, etc.
- Future goals:
- In six months, I am going to have a healthier BMI and blood pressure level.
- By springtime, I will be able to walk through the park with the grandchildren.
- This time next year, I’ll be swimming five laps in the pool, five days a week.
Track progress. Tracking your progress towards these goals offers great motivation to stay on track! Find a Monthly Progress Test here, as well as other helpful tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards reaching goals with the senior means you can also celebrate together when objectives are reached – or simply reward yourselves for taking action to improve your wellbeing. Plan a monthly lunch date or some other pleasurable activity and have fun building memories together!
If a senior in your life is interested in some added support and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Morning Glory Home Care’s Alton memory care and home care professionals are the ideal solution! Give us a call at 618-667-8400 to find out how we can help. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide our award-winning care, please visit our Service Area page.