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We all know the value of a little exercise in our daily lives but what about our senior citizens? There are some seniors that maintain a joie de vivre or a cheerful enjoyment of life that we all may envy when we are older. So what is their secret?
Exercise and movement – you’ve heard the phrase “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”, and that’s precisely what we are talking about. Our bodies are like engines and they will cease up if we don’t continue to stay active. Keeping fit and the calories down have been drummed into us since childhood. Not only will you expect to live longer, but also be healthier senior citizens that can enjoy time with grandchildren and maintain a more independent and active life.
Discovering you are less fit and able than you would like to be is always a challenge. One of the most difficult times, as you age, is when you feel unsafe to drive or someone hints that you may be unfit to hold a license thus taking away your mobility and independence. Not being able to drive to shops, appointments, see friends etc can lead to social isolation and decreased well-being. Sometimes this responsibility has been put on younger family members (unless they contact Your Home Care to assist) which is adding their already busy lives. Finding new ways for older family members to get around on their own is likely to increase their overall well-being. Even just a walk and chat is a healthy start.
As with most gentle exercise, the more you do the more you can do. If you grandparents can walk to the shops, then let them do that or perhaps catch a bus and walk around the shops. It may be worth doing the first few trips with them to build up some confidence to then walk or catch a bus by themselves. Many community organisations offer free drop-off bus service – whether it’s to lawn bowls, a meal at the RSL or a day trip.
Excercise classes for the aged can also help with reducing falls, keeping them mobile for much longer and keeping them social.
Staying mobile is important to all of us, no matter our age. We don’t have to do Jane Fonda’s aerobics anymore but as little as half an hour a day or movement, like walking through the park or to the shops will certainly help. Yoga, water aerobics or pilates are gentle forms of group exercise that most seniors could participate in. They will aid with balance and flexibility and of course, a social outing.
Older people who are physically more active and who exercise regularly are more likely to walk independently and do other activities of daily living on their own compared to sedentary elders. You’re never too old to exercise.