Cold weather can make people want to hibernate, but it’s important as a caregiver to keep loved ones active and in shape. Regular activity can prevent serious health problems and do a lot for mental health as well. Movement improves circulation, helps ward off chronic diseases, and keeps stabilizing muscles strong.
Here’s how to keep your loved ones moving even during winter.
Sustained periods of movement improve cardiovascular health, and doctors recommend people of all ages get at least 30 minutes a day. On sunny days, bundle up and go for a walk to soak up some daylight and experience the outdoors. Consider joining a group for aquatic exercise, since water adds resistance and challenges the whole body.
Activity isn’t out if your loved one is confined to a chair. Turn on their favorite music and try seated dancing together. Look up seated aerobic activities for seniors on YouTube and exercise along. Move your loved one to a chair with wheels and encourage them to push themselves around with their feet. Toss a soft ball back and forth or team with them to bat a balloon in the air as long as possible. Not only does this get their arms and torso into motion, it generates mental focus.
If your loved one tires quickly, don’t complete the whole 30 minutes at once. Break exercise down into three 10-minute spurts throughout the day.
To strengthen your muscles, you need to lift or push weight. Stronger muscles can make it easier to do everyday things like get up from a chair, climb stairs, carry groceries, open jars, and even play with your grandchildren. Lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.
Be sure to try all four types of exercise — ENDURANCE, STRENGTH, BALANCE, and FLEXIBILITY.
- Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about doing a particular exercise, especially if you’ve had hip or back surgery.
- Don’t hold your breath during strength exercises. Holding your breath while straining can cause changes in blood pressure. Breathe in slowly through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth.
- Breathe out as you lift or push, and breathe in as you relax.
- For some exercises, you may want to start alternating arms and work your way up to using both arms at the same time.
- To prevent injury, don’t jerk or thrust weights. Use smooth, steady movements.
- Muscle soreness lasting a few days and slight fatigue are normal after muscle-building exercises, at least at first. After doing these exercises for a few weeks, you will probably not be sore after your workout. From the National Institute on Aging at NIH
Make stretching a part of every routine to help muscles warm up, cool down, and stay supple. Stretching can help reduce back pain, improve posture, and stimulate blood flow. Reach arms out to either side for a chest stretch, then reach up and back for triceps. Stretch hands and fingers to improve range of motion. Sit on the floor with legs extended and bend slowly to touch toes for a leg stretch.
Hold stretches between 15 and 30 seconds, repeating each one three times. Yoga and Pilates both offer gentle stretching routines that are accessible to beginners.
Range of Motion (ROM) may be prescribed by a Physical Therapist. The goal of these exercises is to gently increase range of motion while decreasing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Caregivers can assist clients with these activities.
Arista Home Care Solutions provides care for your loved one and respite care for you. Proper exercise can be included in the custom Care Plan we develop for your loved one, with our aides providing the motivation necessary to stay active. Most people become more enthusiastic about exercising when motivated by a third party. Call us today at (419) 754-1897. We are here to help.