As your parents or grandparents age, their physical bodies also grow weaker, making it more difficult for them to move around like they used to. They may also experience muscle aches and body pains, making them move slower. According to a recent study, around 40% to 60% of older adults experience persistent musculoskeletal pain when aging, which contributes to their significant mobility issues. As a result, being physically active becomes harder each day, and they may start developing unhealthy habits or a sedentary lifestyle.
Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous for your senior loved ones. The lack of physical activity will only boost their risk of developing heart diseases, increase their incidences of memory lapses, and lower life expectancy. In contrast, if your elderly loved ones are regularly active, they can:
- Increase their bone density
- Maintain their physical strength
- Strengthen their cardiovascular health
- Minimize their risk of developing heart problems
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Improve their flexibility and endurance
Ultimately, keeping them active is one of the surefire ways to safeguard their health. So, what can you do to help your senior loved ones live an active lifestyle? Here are six ways to inspire your elderly loved ones to stay active and reap the benefits that come along with it:
Find A Senior Exercise Program In Their Local Area
One of the reasons some elderly adults aren’t inspired to exercise is that they don’t want to do it alone. Exercising in gyms or other public areas can make them more self-conscious and develop a poor body image.
To motivate your senior loved one to engage in physical activities or exercise, help them find a senior exercise program where they can do their exercise routine together with the other seniors. You can look for an active fitness center tailored to local seniors and sign them up for membership.
Your senior loved one will surely love seeing this new environment filled with other senior adults who can relate to their struggles. With a senior exercise program, not only are you helping them stay active, but you’re also allowing them to foster friendships and feel less lonely.
Take A Walk Together
For the days when your senior loved one’s not attending their exercise program, you can invite them for a simple walk around the neighborhood. Besides the fact that walking is good for their health, walking around the community can be an excellent way to ease their loneliness, especially if they’re not fond of going outdoors alone. Ergo, pay a visit to your elderly loved one and take a walk together as much as your schedule allows. If you live together, make it a habit to go for a stroll together every day, even for 10-15 minutes.
Take Them For A Swim
Swimming can be an ideal exercise for seniors because it’s only a low-impact activity and presents little risk of injury. The health benefits of swimming for the elderly may include the following:
- Boosts flexibility
- Minimizes the risk of osteoporosis
- Reduces stress levels, eventually improving their mental health
- Promotes heart health
So, when you have time on weekends, take your senior loved one for a swim at the beach or in a pool. They can swim or perform basic water exercises for 15-30 minutes.
Encourage Them To Explore New Hobbies
For seniors with limited mobility, performing exercises may be too difficult. You can still encourage them to stay active despite this limitation by letting them engage in new hobbies. Trying new hobbies will not only keep them moving but will also enhance their cognitive skills and improve their moods, especially if they’re feeling bored or stuck with their daily routine.
Other benefits of engaging in any hobby for seniors are as follows:
- Improves their immune system
- Gives a sense of accomplishment
- Boosts their self-esteem and confidence
- Keeps their mental health active
Thus, help your senior loved one find a hobby that will keep them physically and mentally active. Some of the best hobbies for senior adults may include:
- Bird watching
- Playing a musical instrument
You can also join them as they try and learn a new hobby to make their experience more fun and as your way of showing support for their new endeavors.
Invite Them To Join Some Dancing Activities
If your elderly loved one is still physically able to perform exercises, perhaps they can still join some dancing activities. Many seniors consider dancing a great exercise because it promotes their overall health and wellness while having fun.
Hence, get your senior loved ones to incorporate dancing into their daily routine by signing them up for some senior dance classes. Through dancing, they can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle while interacting and making new friends. Plus, once they’re confident with their dance moves, perhaps they can participate in a local social dance event for seniors.
Let Them Play All Kinds Of Games
Who says games are only for kids? Seniors can also benefit from playing games, such as board games, jigsaw puzzles, card games, and trivia games. Although these activities don’t require much physical movement, they will keep their memory sharp and promote their mental health.
Better yet, you can also teach them to play video games. Video games may have developed a reputation for keeping some people glued to the couch and living a sedentary lifestyle. But for senior adults, playing video games can improve their cognitive skills.
Moreover, there’s a new video game technology wherein the player can simulate playing a real-world game (e.g., golfing, bowling, tossing a flying disc). Letting your senior loved one play with this can help improve their reflexes and coordination while having fun at the same time.
Keeping your senior loved ones active may seem challenging at first. Luckily, there are various ways you can encourage them to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Therefore, try and explore these helpful tips and watch as your senior loved ones make the most of their golden years.