Between the daily care routine, upkeeping the home, doctor’s visits, additional treatment, and managing finances, how can a caregiver possibly make time to stay active?
It may seem almost impossible, but there are a number of ways you can incorporate a routine of cardio, strength training exercises, stretching, and even creative ways to include your loved one – their physical ability permitting.
Exercise for a caregiver is about as vital as sleep. It allows one to feel more energized, less stressed, and stronger overall.
This is the variety that gets the heart rate up and breathing at a rapid pace. There isn’t just one way to do cardio, so you can involve an activity you really enjoy such as running or biking, and even varieties that can include your loved one such as light dancing or brisk walking. If you make this associated with a favored activity or hobby, it will be easier to stick to it.
If your senior loved one has a dog, simply taking them outside for a walk can also count. Go around the block a few times, and that will help get some additional steps in. You’ll want to do this type of exercise at least a few times a week for 20 to 30 minutes.
Weights are not just for heavy lifters! At least two sessions of strength training a week to work on building up the legs and upper body is recommended. A common way of executing different moves is by doing three sets of eight to twelve repetitions. Choose a weight that isn’t too heavy, but enough to challenge your muscles.
Full body workouts are good for working on the whole body all in one session, or you can also split upper body and lower body workouts to different days. If you don’t have dumbbells or equipment, bodyweight workouts also work great. Even yard work such as snow shoveling or raking leaves could count as a strength training workout if intense enough. Forms of yoga can contribute to building muscles, and your senior loved one can even take part in lighter forms or even chair yoga.
The Importance of Stretching
Stretching prevents injury and promotes flexibility. Incorporating five minutes of stretching before and after a cardio or strength training routine allows for a more successful workout. Even stretching on its own is good for a quick bit of movement to boost blood flow. There are quite a few different moves that seniors can join in on as well.
How Does a Caregiver Achieve Fitness?
These are three keys to success with forming a routine and sticking to it as a caregiver:
- Don’t over complicate your goals. Start small if you have to, because you can build up your goals as you achieve them. Always try to remember that we have to start somewhere, and that’s it’s better to try than to not try at all!
- Be aware of your options. Make a list of activities for both yourself and for being together with the senior loved one, just so you know what ideas you have to work with.
- Set a realistic schedule. This is the hardest part. Your daily schedule may seem to be always fully booked, but by thinking about the little ways that you can incorporate some movement, you can make it happen. It can be doing a workout while your senior loved one naps, having a relative or family friend take watch while you go for a run, or simply dancing while you fold the laundry.
Make it a Group Activity
Some of us may not prefer to do workouts alone, and being stuck at home can make us feel a lack of structure. There are several online workout videos on Youtube that can make you feel as though you are in a group class. Including your loved one will also boost their mood, confidence, and overall fitness as well.
Before you include a senior loved one in any new exercise routine, it is always urged to see their physician before starting. That way, any physical or mental barriers that they face can be worked around, and alternative approaches can be utilized for differing abilities.
At The Kensington, we love incorporating fun ways of getting our residents moving! Through a number of life enrichment fitness and wellness classes, seniors have the option of partaking in many opportunities to improve their physical wellbeing.
If you have questions about our life enrichment and how we are able to bring joy to each day, give us a call today to learn more. Our expert and caring staff work diligently and compassionately to uphold our Kensington promise – to love and care for your family, as we do our very own.