We’re about to start a new year, and we all realize what this means: time to make some resolutions! If you’re similar to most people, you’ll start with the best of intentions. But as time goes on and life gets busier, you will probably find your determination dwindling until you have lost your resolve to achieve that goal altogether.
This time around, why not try something just a little different? Sit back with a senior loved one, and think of a New Year’s resolution you can keep together! Healthy routines are a lot simpler to keep if you have an accountability partner.
A beneficial habit for older adults to adopt is to meet weekly physical activity recommendations. A senior exercise program offers a boost in many ways:
- Better balance and flexibility
- Enhanced mental health
- Strengthened muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased independence, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 2½ hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for older adults, along with balance/strengthening training. Prior to beginning a new exercise routine, older adults should first seek the advice of their doctors for approval and any other suggestions and/or restrictions to follow. Then, get started with these guidelines:
Start gradually. If an older adult has led a sedentary life lately, it’s imperative that you take it easy and gradually build up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury happen by diving in too fast to a workout program, but it can quickly become disheartening.
Set goals. Goals should be both specific and achievable. For example:
- Short-term goals:
- Today: Decide what form of exercise to start.
- Tomorrow: Explore local senior exercise class opportunities – at the senior center, YMCA, gym, etc. If an in-home workout program is preferred or more suitable, find an online program to use. (Remember: just committing to a regular walk at a local park or around the neighborhood is absolutely okay too!)
- By the end of the week: Buy any required gear: comfortable clothing, shoes, handheld weights, bathing suit, etc.
- Long-range goals:
- In half a year, I will have a healthier BMI and blood pressure.
- By springtime, I am going to be able to walk through the zoo with the grandkids.
- This time next year, I’ll be swimming five laps in the pool, five days a week.
Track improvements. Monitoring your progress towards these goals provides great motivation to stay on track! Find a Monthly Progress Test here, together with other practical tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards achieving goals together with the senior means you can also celebrate together when objectives are reached – or simply reward yourselves for doing your best to boost your quality of life. Plan a monthly lunch date or some other pleasurable activity and have fun making memories with each other!
If an older loved one that you know is interested in some extra inspiration and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Home With You Senior Care’s professional providers of senior care in Howard County, MD and nearby areas are the perfect solution! Give us a call at 410-756-0959 to find out how we can help.