Seniors & Exercise (Part 2): Physical Activities

Do you want to help your elderly loved one increase their energy levels, boost their appetite or manage pain?

An active lifestyle can help your senior in many ways. Seniors should engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in bouts of 10 minutes or more to achieve health benefits and improve functional abilities. That’s less than 25 minutes per day to live a happier, healthier and longer life!

Since you have read Part 1, you are already aware of the benefits of engaging in daily physical activities for your elderly loved one. Now you are probably wondering what are the best and safest activities for them to engage in. Here are some examples of daily exercises for your senior:

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  1. Water Aerobics – the perfect exercise for those living with joint pains and arthritis among other ailments. Water aerobics exercises improve strength, flexibility and balance with minimal stress on your body! Join a class or do it alone! Either way these exercises are ideal to help your elderly love one stay active and keep their bodies strong and healthy.
  2. Swimming – like water aerobics, swimming is an excellent form of exercise with minimal to no stress on your body. Even going for a walk in a swimming pool will help your elderly loved one reap all the benefits of aqua fitness.
  3. Yoga or Chair Yoga – another low impact way to get the exercise your senior needs. Yoga exercises, whether in a chair or not, improves muscle strength, flexibility, mobility and balance. Chair yoga does provide less stress on joints, muscles and bones than the more conventional yoga.
  4. Walking – an accessible and low impact way to engage in regular exercise is walking. Just put on some comfortable walking shoes and they will be on their way. For some seniors, walking can be more of a challenge so distance and steps goals will vary from person to person. Invite a friend or neighbour to join your senior on their walk for a chance to socialize while maintaining a healthy body and mind!
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  1. Pilates – similar to yoga, Pilates is a low impact style of exercising with emphasis on breathing, alignment, concentration and core strength. Increased flexibility, improved balance and developed core strength are a few of the benefits your elderly loved one will receive from engaging in Pilates!
  2. Body Weight Workout – like walking, body weight workouts are accessible and convenient as all that is required is yourself (and maybe a mat to soften floor impact)! These workouts are one of the best ways to counteract muscle atrophy in seniors. Squats and step-ups are great examples of body weight exercises.
  3. Cycling – a no-impact form of cardio exercise that is beneficial for your heart and lungs. Whether you use a stationary bike or an outdoor bicycle, this is a great way for seniors who are struggling with joint or muscle pain to get the required physical activity they need!
  4. Dancing – is known to improve balance, strengthen multiple large muscle groups as well as lift your spirits! Line dancing, salsa dancing, and Zumba are great examples of dancing for exercise. It can also be a good social experience if you join a class at a local recreational center, but it can also be done in the comfort of your own home.
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Not all of these examples of physical activities will work for your elderly loved one, or maybe they will. The most important thing to remember is to engage in any physical activities daily! Again, please consult with your senior’s doctor before engaging in any exercises they are unsure of and ask what he recommends for them.

For our next blog we will dive deeper into the different types of physical activities for seniors: Seniors & Exercise (Part 3): Cardio, Strength, Balance and Flexibility Exercises (COMING SOON)

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Seniors & Exercise (Part 1): The Benefits

Is your elderly loved one struggling to perform daily activities? Are you concerned about their mood, energy levels or loss of appetite? Are they in pain or have they fallen recently?

There is a solution that could help with all of these issues that is both convenient and beneficial! Regular exercise can be a positive remedy for many of the ailments your aging adult is experiencing. Even those with physical limitations can engage in some form of exercise. It is important throughout our lives to engage in daily physical activity and as we age, maybe even more so. A senior who is active and exercises regularly can live a longer, healthier and happier life!

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The benefits for seniors who engage in daily physical activity:

  • Maintain Their Independence – Regular exercise will improve strength which will help your aging adult to be more capable of handling daily activities such as walking, bathing, dressing and cooking by themselves.
  • Prevention or Delay of Diseases – An active lifestyle for your senior may prevent or delay them from developing diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis and depression. Exercise can also reduce the unpleasantness of symptoms they may already be experiencing due to these diseases.
  • Improve Balance – Daily physical activity keeps your bones and muscles strong and enables you to maintain balance as you age. Accordingly, this greatly reduces the risk of falling.
  • Improve Brain Function – Engaging in regular exercise can improve your thinking process, ability to learn and your judgement. It can also reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
  • Increase Energy – More energy means more life to be lived! It can also increase appetite to ensure adequate calorie intake for your senior.
  • Improve Moods and Reduce Pain – Any amount of exercise releases endorphins, essential neurochemicals that reduce your perception of pain and give you a sense of contentment. These endorphins promote healthy sleep, reduce stress and anxiety and make you feel more energetic and enthusiastic!
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Always speak to your family physician before engaging in activities you are uncertain about and ask them what they would recommend for daily exercise.

Now that you know all the amazing benefits of regular exercise, pick something that works for your elderly loved one and maybe even do the activities with them! You can find great ideas for daily exercises here: Seniors & Exercise (Part 2): Physical Activities.

Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels is an essential volunteer community service that has been benefiting the residents of Surrey and North Delta for 61 years. We provided and delivered over 24,000 meals and bagged lunches in 2020 to those who could not prepare meals for themselves. Go to our website to find out more about our charity, to donate or to register