As your loved one ages, it’s common for them to experience a loss of mobility. When they’ve spent their entire lives unaided, learning to walk with a walker, cane or even using a wheelchair is a struggle. As a caregiver, it may be hard to know how to help them. At Caregivers Connection, we would like to offer four tips that can encourage them to increase their mobility. Continue reading
As a caregiver, you are responsible for the well-being of your aging parent or a loved one. For people over the age of sixty, bone related injuries and disease increases. Caregivers Connection has five helpful facts and tips about maintaining strong bones. Continue reading
The benefits of exercise cannot be stressed highly enough. As obesity increases in the United States, we know that it can lead to injury and myriad other illnesses. If you’ve been sedentary and are now looking to start an exercise routine, you will want to check with your doctor first for help and advice. You may find that he will recommend an exercise program for those with limited mobility and this is especially true if you haven’t exercised for a long period of time or if you are suffering other health issues that don’t allow you to be as mobile as you’d like.
There could be many reasons you have limited mobility and they could range from an existing disability, a breathing condition, diabetes, arthritis, being severely overweight or recovering from an injury.
Those dealing with mobility issues may also find themselves dealing with depression and anxiety. Oftentimes, beginning any kind of exercise routine can help enhance self-esteem, reduce anxiety and improve a persons overall outlook on life in general. There are challenges that come with having limited mobility, but there are also creative ways to overcome and find ways to exercise.
What can you do if you want to exercise, but have limited mobility? Here are a few options to consider:
- Exercising in the water is a great way to increase your cardiovascular strength. Swimming also makes it easier to exercise because of the natural buoyancy the water provides your body.
- Increasing your range of motion with flexibility exercises such as yoga or stretching can help you regain flexibility.
- Lifting light weights and undertaking strength training exercises can help build muscle strength and improve balance. If you have limited mobility in your upper body, you may want to focus on your leg strength. For those with limited mobility in their legs, working on strengthening exercises for the upper body are ideal.
Before you start exercising, ask your doctor for advice on the type of exercises to try, how often you should exercise, if there are activities you should avoid and whether any of the medication you’re taking will impact your workout.
Here are tips for starting a routine:
- Take it slow and build up your activity level as your endurance increases.
- Work exercise into your daily routines. If it becomes a habit that you work out at a specific time of day, it will be easier to stick with it.
- Don’t give up if you don’t think you’re seeing results. It can take a while for the results to be visible.
Exercises to consider for those with limited mobility include:
- Chair workouts. If you can’t get up and move around you can still move your upper body! Do some “chair dancing” exercises by raising your arms and lifting your legs. Turn on some music to make it more enjoyable.
- If you have a chair with wheels and a non-carpeted area in the home, use your legs to move around the room to help build endurance.
- Sit on a balance ball. These are ideal for increasing stability and can also help you work out by moving your arms, wiggling your hips, making figure eights with your waist all while increasing your balance.
- Turn on some music and clean the house! Vacuuming and bending and stretching to dust your furniture is also a great way move and stretch. If you move in time with the music you may also amp up your cardio!
The actual point of any exercise program is to simply get moving! Even if it’s only one area of your body, moving it will help you feel better, raise your spirits and may lead to even more healthful activities!
Getting up off of the couch and moving is a way to not only combat obesity, but it can help you as you age by keeping your physical and mental being in balance. Chances are, your doctor has stressed the importance of getting up and moving. You have likely heard the reports that people who sit for long periods of time are more likely to die at an earlier age than those who are more physically active.
Walking is an exercise that virtually anyone can undertake as a way to get and/or stay healthy. In addition to helping your cardiovascular system, walking may prevent cancer and diabetes and help strengthen your bones. Because falls are so prevalent in individuals over the age of 65, being active and in shape may help prevent a fall as you age.
Did you know, though, that walking can also help ward off dementia? Physicians believe that consistent cardio exercise – like walking or even swimming – can help prevent your brain from shrinking as you age. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh showed that individuals who walked six to nine miles a week had more brain volume after nine years in the study than did those who were not as active. Consider that a walk a day can reverse age-related brain shrinkage and you can see the benefit in slipping on your sneakers and getting out there!
If you’ve been sedentary, here are some steps you will want to consider before you start a walking routine:
- Wear comfortable walking shoes. They should fit well and have stable soles.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat when you walk to prevent sunburn.
- Invest in a pedometer so you can track how long you’re walking and challenge yourself to walk a few more steps each day.
- Don’t start a walking or other exercise routine until you’ve checked with your doctor. He may advise starting out slowly (getting a few thousand steps a day) and working your way up to the recommended 10,000 steps a day.
What’s the best way to start a walking workout?
- Plan to walk at the coolest parts of the day – early morning or at dusk.
- Walk in well-lit areas and stay on sidewalks and try to avoid uneven terrain
- Use walking sticks to not only improve balance but to work your upper body as well
- Start out with a five to ten minute walk – this is especially important if you’ve been inactive prior to this. Increase your walk time by five to ten minutes every time you go out
- Look for ways to incorporate walking into your every day routine – walk to the mailbox, park further away from the grocery store than usual and use those steps to add to your daily total, get up and move around during television commercials, walk up to get your daily cup of coffee.
- Change up your routine so you don’t get bored. Walk in a different direction. Walk indoors one day and outdoors the next. Find a walking buddy.
- Once you’ve been walking for a week or two increase the intensity by walking up some hills or even by doing “interval” training – walking at a faster pace for a minute (to the point of being almost breathless) then slow back to your usual pace.
Make today the day that you commit to being more active; it just may help you stave off dementia as well as helping improve your all around health.
It’s true that as we age we slow down and don’t get as much exercise as we did when we were younger. Unless a medical professional advises against certain exercise, there is no reason we can’t still remain active, In fact, medical professionals advise that staying fit not only helps us as we age by keeping us more limber and our bones stronger, but staying physically fit may also keep our brains more active and engaged and less prone to Alzheimer’s.
Here are some tips for staying fit and healthy:
- Don’t let “feeling tired” keep you from exercise. Even a slow-paced walk will invigorate you and create more energy. Moving on a daily basis helps keep our body operating at its peak and can help ward off obesity, diabetes and other ailments that impact us as we age.
- Consistency counts. Exercising doesn’t have to consume your entire day, but you do need to commit to exercising on a daily basis in order for it to have a positive impact on your health. If you’re not in the habit of exercising regularly, start out slow and plan a short jaunt, but make certain you move quickly enough to get your heart pumping. Plan to walk for at least 30 minutes a day. It’s a low impact, heart healthy exercise that individuals of almost any fitness level can do. Walking lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, can help you lose weight and improve your overall strength. It’s always wise to talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise routine.
- Fill up on water. Water is great for your skin and helps energize your muscles. You will also want to drink water before, during and after your exercise.
- Wear the proper gear. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on fitness wear, but you do want to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes when you’re walking. Wear non-constricting clothing and wear a hat if you’re going to be outside walking in the sunshine. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Pay attention to the surfaces on which you’re walking and take note of your balance. As we age, we more easily lose our balance and that can lead to a trip and fall accident. Simply by exercising though we strengthen our core muscles and improve our balance, so make certain when you’re starting a walking routine that you stick to level surfaces.
- On the days when the weather doesn’t cooperate, spend some time in gentle stretching motions in your home. Stretching gets blood flowing to areas where it may have been restricted and also helps prevent muscle imbalance. Toe touches, stretches above your head and even deep knee bends or leg lifts using a chair for balance are great ways to get your stretching in.
Once you’ve committed to a fitness routine, make certain you also commit to a healthy diet. Eat lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and consume at least eight glasses of water a day. Steps you take now to live a healthier lifestyle will go a long way in making your Golden Years more enjoyable!
Does your need for exercise diminish as you age? Not at all, health experts say. As a matter of fact, the elderly need to remain active as a way to stay healthy, be able to age in place and prevent their muscles from atrophying because of insufficient activity. Additionally, keeping blood flowing to vital organs and the brain enhance life and health.
Lack of muscle tone and a non-productive active lifestyle can also lead toward depression and inactivity can make your aging relatives more prone to trip and fall accidents. If you can impress upon your aging relatives the need for activity, they may be able to age in place and with the addition of a home medical alert device, this ability to stay safely at home is further enhanced.
Before beginning any type of exercise routine, you should check with a physician to make certain they’re healthy enough. For even the most sedate of individuals simply getting up and moving around or taking short strolls around the house is better than remaining sedentary. An exercise routine, to be effective, should be strenuous enough to generate blood flow and work the muscles without putting undue strain on the joints. A swim routine, if there is a pool available, is ideal for working out without putting stress on muscles and joints that may be ravaged by arthritis.
One of the main goals of any kind of an exercise program is to provide adequate exercise to maintain muscle mass and a general feeling of well-being. When you consider that getting up and moving around will help improve balance and overall health, simply getting up and walking could help prevent falls and broken bones. Getting into a habit of taking a daily, or even every other day, walk with the seniors in your life is a great bonding activity for the both of you and will also help assure they don’t suffer a fall if they’re out walking alone.
Many senior centers provide workout programs geared specifically to individuals in this age group and these programs are not only a great way to work out in a supportive environment but it is a great way for your senior to get out of the house and socialize.
Working out will enhance your seniors’ appetite, which wanes as they age; don’t forget to stock their homes with heart healthy food choices and fresh fruits and vegetables.
When it comes to getting your body in motion, one of the simplest and most effective forms of exercise is stretching. Aging does not mean you will automatically lose your flexibility. The pain and stiffness that many individuals associate with aging begins as temporary tensions that become learned habits if the individual does not begin counterbalancing the effects of their increased stiffness. When muscles begin to tighten, they cease to be elastic and thus can restrict movement. With increased stiffness and restriction, elderly individuals may begin to limit movements that require stiff muscles, leading to disuse.
Besides being a good form of exercise for the elderly, stretching also improves strength and endurance and decreases the impact of injury. The best part about stretching is that it can be done anywhere and does not require any special equipment. Before beginning a stretching regimen it is best to consult with your doctor to see what stretches are the most safe and effective for you or your loved one’s body type. Before stretching, it is always important to remember to:
- Warm up prior to stretching
- Never overextend while stretching, stretching should not cause pain and should be gentle
- Breath during your movements, never hold your breath while stretching
- Keep your back straight
- When moving your head from side to side, never move it too quickly
- If you experience any pain, re-evaluate the stretch or simply stop
Tips for Efficient Stretching
- The best time to stretch your muscles is immediately following a workout, since your muscles are already warm. Stretching helps to alleviate the soreness you experience while working out, and helps increase blood circulation. Stretching after a warm bath or shower is another effective time to stretch.
- Engage in static stretching, meaning avoid bouncing or over-reaching. Once you have stretched your muscle to an elongated position, there is no need to continue to stretch any further. Simply hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Once a muscle has reached its maximum length, attempting to stretch it further will cause undue stress to your ligaments.
Think of stretching as a reward for you body, an anti-aging measure that will keep your body running properly as your age progresses. Stretching should bring you peace both physically and mentally. Allow yourself to relax while enjoying
stretching’s many benefits.
In order to maintain your health and operate at your optimum capacity it is important to get enough sleep each and every night, however, this task is a lot easier said than done. Being a caregiver saddles you with added responsibilities and stressors especially if you are in the sandwich generation. Providing financial and emotional care for both your parents and children is enough to keep anyone up at night.
Medical experts say that you should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night, but statistics reveal many people are getting less than 5 to 6 hours. Not getting enough sleep can affect both your demeanor and your health, leading to weight gain and a constant feeling of slugishness.
When it comes time to go to bed many caregivers use the time they should be sleeping to finish up chores, complete work assignments or watch TV. Having so many stressors on your plate, it is also easy to bring your stress-related problems into the bedroom. Bringing your stress with you to bed will only further affect your ability to get the rest you require. Before laying down for bed each night, caregivers have to let their stressors go in order to allow themselves to fully relax. The following are just a few helpful tips to help you drift off a little easier, without enlisting the help of sheep. Continue reading
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important for everyone and has a very positive impact on many aspects of life. As we age daily activity is even more important. If you are able to stay active you can greatly increase your quality of life. Here are a few benefits from staying active at an old age.
- Improves mood: Exercise can actually stimulate brain chemicals that can actually leave you feeling better than you did before.
- Combats disease: Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries. Continue reading