We are on the brink of a brand new year, and we all know very well what this means: resolution time! If you are similar to most people, you will start with the best of intentions. But as time passes and life gets busier, you will probably find your determination slipping away until you’ve lost your resolve to achieve that goal altogether.
This year, why not try something just a little different? Sit back with a senior loved one, and think of a New Year’s resolution you’ll be able to keep together! Healthy behaviors are a lot easier to keep for those who have an accountability partner.
A vital habit for older adults to embrace is to meet weekly physical activity recommendations. Physical activity brings increased health and wellbeing and gives seniors a boost in many ways, such as:
- Improved balance and flexibility
- Improved mental health
- Stronger muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased independence, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest a minimum of 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises for seniors, in addition to balance/strengthening activities. Before beginning a new exercise program, older adults should first talk to their doctors for approval and for any other tips and/or restrictions to follow. Then, begin with the following tips:
Start slowly. If a senior has led a less active lifestyle recently, it’s important to take it easy and slowly work up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury occur by jumping in too fast to a workout program, but it can quickly become disheartening.
Be goal-oriented. Goals should be both specific and achievable. For example:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Determine what type of exercise to begin.
- Tomorrow: Look into 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: simply committing to a consistent walk at a local park or around the block is absolutely fine too!)
- By the end of the week: Purchase any essential equipment: comfortable clothing, shoes, handheld weights, bathing suit, etc.
- Long-term goals:
- In half a year, I’ll have a healthier BMI and blood pressure level.
- By springtime, I am going to be able to walk through the park with the grandkids.
- This time next year, I will be swimming five laps in the pool, five days a week.
Monitor improvements. Keeping track of your progress towards these goals offers great motivation to stay on track! Find a Monthly Progress Test here, along with other practical tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards accomplishing goals together with the senior means you can also celebrate together when milestones are achieved – or simply reward yourselves for taking steps to enhance your health and wellbeing. Plan a monthly lunch date or some other enjoyable activity and have fun making experiences with each other!
If an older adult in your life would like some additional encouragement and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Compassionate Nursing Services’ St. Louis home care experts are the perfect solution! Reach out to us at 314-432-4312 to discover how we can help. See our Service Area page for a full list of the communities where we offer care.