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Incorporating Exercise into a Loved One’s Routine


An older couple biking together

Most of us know that physical activity is good for our health, and an important part of a weekly routine. But what about the loved ones we care for? Do they know the many benefits of  physical activity? If we are in great shape and physically fit, our loved ones can take a page from our book. If not, then the two of us may want to consider how participating in physical activity can benefit us both.

Physical activity does not necessarily have to mean something demanding or strenuous. It can mean having our loved ones stand up from a chair unassisted or take a brisk walk in the park. The outcomes could make our loved ones more resistant to falling and breaking bones. All of these things and more are possible with the right game plan.

If our loved ones are serious about starting physical activity, here are things we should keep in mind:

1.    Consult a doctor

Our loved ones should visit the doctor to discuss any current ailments or possible hazards to exercising safely, like chest pain, blood clots or an infection.

2.    Keep it simple

Exercise does not have to be as strenuous as training for a marathon. It can involve stretching, walking, balancing and strength training—like lifting a small set of hand weights. We can help by joining our loved ones in exercising and keeping an eye on their progress.

3.    Incorporate hobbies and interests

There are thousands of ways to be active—including gardening, dancing or walking, just to name a few. Our loved ones should be encouraged to find something they like to do.

4.    Take it slow

We should have our loved ones start slowly and build up endurance. We should also make sure they breathe properly—holding one’s breath is not a good practice in exercising, but it’s surprising how people can forget to breathe while focusing.

5.    Schedule time to exercise

If possible, our loved ones should have 30 minutes of activity daily that makes them breathe hard and build endurance. They don’t have to go all out for 30 minutes at a time, but the goal should be to exercise in ten minute increments.

6.    Build muscle strength

Our loved ones should strength train, even if it is only through supporting their own weight through brisk walking. Strong muscles equal independence.

7.    Improve balance and flexibility

Whether it’s standing on one foot or walking heel to toe, our loved ones should work to improve their balance in order to prevent falls. They should also stretch often to improve flexibility and to keep muscles from getting strained or pulled.

Resource: National Institute of Health

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