When people are younger, they tend to look towards retirement as an oasis filled with television, travel, and naps. However, in the later years of someone’s life, it is important that they keep physically active, as exercise has been shown to ward off disease and increase life expectancy by up to 3.7 years.
Unfortunately, an aging body can slow down and as a result, the idea of fitness loses its appeal, hence why it is up to you to show your elderly loved ones that there are ways to get the heart pumping while still having a good time. Here are 10 ideas to get them moving:
1. Set Manageable Goals
What’s more encourageable than ticking items off of a list? By compiling a short program of realistically achievable goals, the ball will start rolling and each accomplishment will be accompanied by the pride of succeeding, no matter how insignificant any given checkbox may seem. To really build up momentum behind the process, add tasks which required attention anyway, such as hanging up the washing or cooking dinner, casually slipping in an odd fitness-related element between.
2. Start Small
It can be daunting to suddenly introduce a whole new set of directions into someone’s routine. This is why you have to be smart about it, and disguise any physical activity as an exciting part of their day. If the weather is nice, go for a cycle or a stroll outside, and perhaps even suggest a leisurely dip in the pool. If the weather isn’t ideal, put on their favorite song and perform a little dance around the living room.
3. Keep a Record of Their Progress
If one can look back on how far they have come, the chances are that they will develop an incentive to beat their previous achievements. There is nothing wrong with keeping track of their accomplishments on paper, but for additional enthusiasm, install an app on their phone to make a game out of it, or propose that they boast about their improvements on social media.
4. Surround them with Motivational Materials
Discuss goals with your loved ones and then place reminders of the possibilities all around them, such as subscriptions to health magazines or by joining motivational senior groups online. If there is some resistance to this type of intrusive practice, informally recommend inspirational audiobooks while keeping an ear out for which songs tend to encourage them onto their feet.
5. Home Fitness
The myth that one has to leave the house in order to get into shape is not only discouraging but is also very untrue. Purchase a few small weights or set up a treadmill in the living room, and show your loved ones how to get their blood flowing while watching their favorite television series. There are also an endless amount of home fitness DVDs available, and those who have mobility concerns can also enjoy the benefits of chair yoga.
6. Sidestepping Accessibility Excuses
For those who are currently suffering from any physical ailments, one must understand how impossible any exercise may seem. In these cases, it is important to look over what options you can offer their specific condition while also appealing to their interests. Discuss using some assistive equipment for walking, research accessible gyms in the area, and look out for local disability-friendly fitness classes.
7. Incorporate Companionship
It has been scientifically proven that loneliness can result in severe negative health consequences. Thankfully, with so many senior-based group activities around, you can tick both the social and exercise boxes at the same time. Look into yoga or swimming classes for the elderly, or sign them up for an organized walk. People tend to encourage the best performance out of one another, and it will be so much fun that you’ll probably want to join in yourself.
8. Hire a Personal Trainer
There is often an automatic resistance to spending money on something like a personal trainer but it is this cost which may provide the greatest motivation. By skipping one session, you have not only made an expensive decision, but you have also wasted someone else’s time. The advantage of a personal trainer extends beyond this too, as these professionals know exactly how the body works and can target the precise areas in need of improvement.
9. Know Their Medical Limitations
Maintaining a level of physical fitness is the priority, but you will still need to work around the risks of aggravating any damage. Get regular checkups and ask the doctors for recommendations, querying about potential injuries and how intensive any given workout can go. Once you know what to look out for, you can avoid undesirable mishaps by measuring their blood pressure at home or monitoring specific aches and pains.
10. Don’t Stop at Exercise
Physical activity is only a portion of the battle and there are many other elements of health which need to be addressed. Learn how to detect malnutrition and push for a diet full of fruit and vegetables. Warn against the dangers of smoking and alcohol consumption, while discussing any changes in their sleeping patterns. It’s also important to keep their spirits high and their stresses low, so don’t take any of this too seriously and always ensure they have a smile upon their face.