While staying safe at home has become our new normal, that doesn’t mean we should spend our time sitting in front of the television! For senior loved ones, especially those diagnosed with chronic health issues, maintaining an energetic lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge which may seem insurmountable. However, studies have shown the importance of exercise for the elderly and the many benefits it provides, such as:
- Fosters independence
- Minimizes the possibility of falls and subsequent fractures
- Lowers hypertension
- Improves strength and stamina
- Eases anxiety and depression
- Promotes healthy bones, joints and muscles
- Helps manage pain and swelling connected with arthritis
- And more
In spite of the numerous benefits of exercise, a large portion of older adults – 67% of them, according to another recent study – are spending the majority of their day on sedentary activities, and by age 75, 1/3 of all males and ½ of women report engaging in no exercise whatsoever. A sedentary lifestyle can be particularly detrimental to seniors with chronic health issues, as it can exacerbate many of the symptoms associated with diabetes, cancer, hypertension and more.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, providers of trusted St. Louis nursing care, we love helping older adults get back into a healthier, more energetic lifestyle. Sometimes, having someone to exercise with can make a major difference in making exercise a routine, and an activity that older adults look forward to.
We suggest creating a playlist of the older adult’s favorite upbeat music, setting a designated time daily for working out so it becomes a routine, and making it fun! Here are several simple exercises you can try together with the older adults you love, right within 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. Slowly bend the knees and sit down in the chair. Pause for a moment, and then press with the upper 2/3 of the feet to resume a standing position. Repeat 10 times, twice each day. If possible, the exercise can be intensified by removing the chair and lowering into a squat (while holding onto a heavy-duty piece of furniture).
- Balance stance: Stand with feet together, and while grasping 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 help 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 sure to always check with the senior’s health care provider prior to starting or changing any exercise program.
Connect with our professional aging care team for further resources and exercise recommendations, as well as for a companion to help make health and fitness more enjoyable! You can easily reach us any time at 314-432-4312 to learn more about our top-rated St. Louis nursing care throughout the metropolitan area.