We’re on the verge of a whole new year, and we all know very well what that means: time to make some resolutions! If you’re similar to most people, you’ll begin with the best of intentions. But as time goes by and life gets busier, you could find your resolve diminishing until you have lost your drive to achieve that goal altogether.
This time around, why not try something somewhat different? Sit down with a senior loved one and come up with a New Year’s resolution you can easily keep together! Healthy habits are a lot easier to maintain when you’ve got an accountability partner.
A particularly beneficial habit for older adults to consider is to meet the recommended weekly physical activity guidelines. Regular exercise gives seniors a boost in many ways:
- Improved flexibility and balance
- Enhanced mental health
- Strengthened muscles, heart, and lungs
- And increased independence, just to name a few
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans advise at least 2½ hours each week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for seniors, in addition to balance/strengthening exercises. Prior to beginning an exercise regimen, older adults should first seek the advice of their doctors for approval and any other guidelines and/or constraints to follow. Then, begin with these tips:
Start gradually. If a senior has recently led a sedentary life, it is imperative that you take it easy and gradually work up to the desired activity level. Not only can injury develop by jumping in too fast to a fitness program, but it can quickly become discouraging.
Set goals. Goals ought to be both specific and achievable. Examples include:
- Short-range goals:
- Today: Determine what form of exercise to start.
- Tomorrow: Check out local exercise class programs – at the senior center, YMCA, gym, etc. If an at-home fitness program is preferred or more suitable, find an online program to use. (Remember: simply committing to a consistent walk in the park or just around the block is absolutely fine too!)
- By the end of the week: Purchase any essential gear: hand weights, shoes, clothing, bathing suit, etc.
- Long-range goals:
- In 6 months, I’ll have a healthier BMI and blood pressure level.
- By springtime, I will be able to walk through the zoo with the grandkids.
- This time next year, I will be swimming five laps in the pool, five days per week.
Track progress. Keeping track of your progress towards these goals offers great inspiration to stay on track! Find a Monthly Progress Test, along with other useful tools to ensure success.
Celebrate! Working towards reaching goals with the senior means you can also celebrate together when objectives are reached – or simply reward yourselves for doing your best to commit to a healthier lifestyle. Plan a monthly lunch date or some other enjoyable activity and have fun making memories with each other!
If an older loved one that you know would like some added support and motivation to stay healthy and physically active, Absolute Companion Care, a provider of home and memory care in Towson, MD and nearby communities, is the perfect solution! Contact us at 410-357-9640 to discover how we can help.