Exercise is beneficial for people of all ages. In fact, WebMD states that exercise can boost brainpower, melt away stress and improve energy levels. Needless to say, adding exercise to your day would seem to be a must-do for anyone. However, what about those individuals who are not able to get up and move around or walk? Your elderly parent may have trouble getting up and going to the mailbox, so how can you or their assisted living facility encourage him or her to get more exercise and gain those benefits? We have put together a few tips that will show you how anyone can get more exercise—even if mobility is an issue. Hopefully these can help make a big difference in your life!
1. Water Athletics
Even if your mom or dad has trouble walking or moving on the ground, perhaps moving in the water would be easier. While you will want to start slowly, trying swimming or water aerobics can be a great way to get more movement in his or her life. Many public and private pools have chair lifts that make it easier to get into and out of the pool as well. Try calling around to the local pools. You may even find a class that is designed for seniors or for those who have mobility issues.
2. Chair Aerobics
Believe it or not, chair aerobics are a “thing.” It is possible to get a good and well-rounded workout without ever standing up. There are DVDs and classes dedicated to this activity. They are designed to be completed by those who cannot get out of the chair at all as well as by those who need to hold onto the chair for support. Either way, it’s a good workout.
3. Old Fashioned Wheelchairs
While powered chairs are useful, and quite fast, there is nothing quite like a hand powered chair for getting a workout. You might be surprised by how much of a workout it can be to propel yourself around a room or facility using only your arms. Just make sure there is someone around to help out in case your mom or dad gets too tired.
4. Short Walks (If Possible)
Is it possible for your mom or dad to take a short walk, perhaps with someone to hold on to or a cane or walker for support? It may be that your parent is a bit embarrassed by the need for help. Don’t let embarrassment keep him or her from getting exercise. Nothing beats getting out and moving. You can always start with very short walks, even up and down the hall and move to longer walks after some practice.
5. Try a Physical Therapist
A physical therapist may be one of the best resources available to your mom or dad. These experts have knowledge of the human body and know how to encourage movement and exercise without causing your mom or dad too much pain. In fact, the therapist may be able to help your parent in ways that you would have never thought of on your own.
If getting enough exercise continues to be a problem for your parent, you shouldn’t feel like you need to take on all the responsibility yourself. There are many programs out there that can help. Check into what services are available for seniors in your community or through your parents’ doctor or insurance company. This can be a great resource. Additionally, if there is a need for ongoing service, an assisted living community might be a good solution. Many of these communities offer exercise and physical therapy programs that could get your mom or dad moving and help encourage activity throughout the week.
If you’re looking for additional resources for seniors, click on the Care Choice blog here.