If you are a caregiver of a family member, you are among some of the busiest people around. Perhaps you provide care for a disabled relative or an older adult by spending hours making sure your loved one is safe and well cared for. You often are juggling work and other family responsibilities. Finding time to spend on your own needs is a scarce commodity. Finding the time to exercise may seem like something you can’t do right now, but, caregiving and exercise can be done at the same time.
Finding time to take care of yourself is vital for protecting both your own health, and your ability to provide the best care for your loved one. It’s important to follow your own health regimen, including healthcare appointments, a nutritious eating plan, adequate sleep and exercise.
The last item on the list, exercise, seems to be the one that falls off our schedule first. If you’ve missed your thirty-minute cardio sessions, you can see benefits from some ‘stealth’ activities. At Caregivers Connection, we have three easy steps to work exercise into your schedule.
House cleaning – By simply spending 45 minutes cleaning the house will work up a sweat. It will also burn calories. While the number will vary from person to person, cleaning the house for that long can burn around 120 calories.
Grocery shopping – One hour browsing the shelves and walking up and down the grocery aisles may burn as much as 260 calories. Lifting heavy items and bags will give your arms a brief workout, also.
Exercise with your loved one – If the person you are caring for can get out for a walk or do an exercise DVD with you, this is a great way for you both to reap the benefits of physical activity. If you are caregiving for someone who uses a motorized scooter or wheelchair, find some accessible trails and paths in your area and plan to go for an outing. If you choose to push the wheelchair, you are adding to your workout and offering a pleasant diversion for your loved one.
Caregiving and exercise don’t have to be mutually exclusive. These three ideas are just that, ideas. Use them as a springboard for even more ideas that work in your schedule with your loved one.