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Can More Activity Reduce the Risk of Disability?

Exercise is beneficial for individuals of all ages, but for older adults, staying active can significantly decrease the chance of permanent injury. In fact, physical activity has been proven to ease symptoms of numerous chronic conditions and diseases, helping a senior to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

As a leading provider of home care in Summit, we believe daily physical activity is an important component to healthy aging and include it as a key component in our revolutionary approach to aging, The Balanced Care Method™. Older adults should strive for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, five or more days a week, according to a recent Physical Activity and Health Report from the Surgeon General. The addition of strength training twice a week can also relieve symptoms of back pain, osteoporosis arthritis, diabetes and even depression.

If your aging parent or loved one does not exercise regularly, it is important to encourage them to do so, while easing them into an exercise regimen. A sedentary older adult should first see a doctor before beginning an exercise program to help determine current abilities and which exercises would offer the most benefits. In the beginning, short intervals of physical activity, five to ten minutes at a time is recommended and should be supervised by a family member or professional Summit caregiver to ensure safety. Once a senior becomes comfortable, the amount and time spent exercising can be increased. Seniors should remember to follow these tips when starting to exercise on a regular basis:

  • Allow time to build strength
  • Be aware of personal limitations
  • Feel free to change the activity
  • Exercise at a comfortable pace
  • Stop if activity becomes painful

It is also important for seniors to understand that exercise does not have to be strenuous. There are many low-impact activities that provide great benefits to older adults and elderly. Walking is one of our favorite activities because it can be done by almost anyone! Walking around the block or at a local park can increase overall well being, control weight and improve circulation and heart health for seniors. For seniors who suffer from stiff muscles or joints, water aerobics is an option that provides similar benefits while controlling joint swelling and pain. And, as mentioned previously, strength training is another great option that builds muscle mass, increases bone density and can reverse signs of aging. When flexibility and balance improves, older adults can also reduce their chance for falls, fractures and permanent disability.

Family and friends can have a positive impact on regular physical activity of an older adult. To encourage a loved one, provide information on the benefits of exercise, address any concerns and help a senior get started. The results? A happier and healthier person. For more information senior fitness or to find a caregiver who can assist your loved one with a daily exercise routine, or activities of daily living and personal care, call Home Care Assistance of Summit at 908.450.9400. We can also help promote daily activity for seniors who suffer from advanced conditions through our specialty programs for Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s care in Summit, helping to manage symptoms and enhance quality of life at home. Contact a Care Manager and schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation today.