We are about to start a whole new year, and we all know very well what that means: time to make some resolutions! If you’re similar to most people, you will start with the best of intentions. But as time goes by and life gets busier, you might find your determination shrinking until you’ve lost your resolve to achieve that goal altogether.
This time around, why not try something a little different? Sit down with a senior you love, and come up with a New Year’s resolution you can keep together! Healthy habits are much simpler to keep when you have an accountability partner.
An especially important habit for older adults to adopt is to meet weekly exercise recommendations. Regular physical activity gives seniors a boost in a variety of ways:
- Improved flexibility and balance
- Improved mental health
- Strengthened muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased self-reliance, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans advise a minimum of 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic workout for seniors, along with balance/strengthening activities. Prior to starting a new fitness routine, older adults should first talk to their doctors for approval and any other guidelines and/or constraints to adhere to. Then, get going with the following tips:
Start little by little. If a senior has led a more sedentary life recently, it’s vital that you take it easy and over time, work up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury develop by diving in too fast to an exercise program, but it can very quickly become frustrating.
Set goals. Goals ought to be both specific and attainable. For example:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Determine what types of regular physical activity to begin.
- Tomorrow: Look into local exercise class opportunities – at the YMCA, senior center, gym, etc. If an at-home workout program is preferred or more appropriate, find a web-based program to follow. (Remember: just committing to a consistent walk at the park or around the block is perfectly okay too!)
- By the end of this week: Obtain any required equipment: comfortable clothing, shoes, handheld weights, bathing suit, etc.
- Long-term goals:
- In half a year, I will have a healthier BMI and blood pressure level.
- By springtime, I will be in a position to walk through the zoo with the grandchildren.
- This time next year, I’ll be swimming five laps in the pool, five days per week.
Monitor improvements. Keeping track of your progress towards these goals offers great motivation to stay on track! Find a Monthly Progress Test, along with other useful tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards reaching goals with the senior means you can also celebrate together when milestones are achieved – or simply reward yourselves for taking steps to enhance your health. Plan a monthly lunch date or other pleasurable activity and have fun building memories together!
If an older adult in your life is interested in some added inspiration and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Anthem Home Care, a provider of home care and Alzheimer’s care in Portland, TX and nearby areas, is the ideal solution! Contact us at 361-643-2323 to learn how we can help.