Recently I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with one of our senior home care clients who has Alzheimer's Disease. While I was there, he was due to complete his daily exercises. These exercises required about 15-20 minutes and included various stretching exercises. In addition to spotting him for safety, I did most of the exercises along with him. We even turned the last one into a game of catch with the spongy ball that he used for one of the exercises.
Now none of that is out of the ordinary. What was out of the ordinary was that the next morning when I woke-up, my ankles didn't feel as stiff as they had recently felt on most mornings. After a few minutes of reflection, I realized that those stretching exercises were probably exactly what I need, too! And, we all do! One of the biggest challenges in senior home care is keeping our clients active, not just sitting on the couch.
Anybody who knows me knows how much I dislike exercising. But a few ideas come together to make it a bit easier for me. First, in my presentation on Healthy Aging, I point out that building physical activity, even low impact activity, into your daily routine can be one way to increase activity levels. For example, when I worked in an office environment, instead of calling a colleague on the telephone across the office, I walked to his or her office. Now I climb the stairs to my office many times a day which provides a certain amount of activity--built right into my daily routine.
The second bit of good news is that current research finds that your recommended 30 minutes of heart-rate elevating activity each day doesn't have to be in one session. Three 10-minute sessions are just as good. So, walking the dogs at lunch can give me one of those sessions! This idea lends itself nicely to senior home care as well because you can break up the day into various activities, each with a physical activity component.
For many people I talk with, I find that motivation to get started on exercising is the hardest part. So, hopefully these prior blog articles from the archive will give you just the right motivation!
If you're up for celebrating National Health and Fitness Day, come out and see us on May 28th at the Spring Valley YMCA Health fair!
More information on National Senior Health and Fitness Day 2014