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Stay Active, Stay Independent

Senior Adult, Nurse, Patient, Care, Assistance

One of the best things you can do to help your loved one successfully age in place is to encourage them to stay active. According to a report from the CDC, physical activity helps keep older adults living independently while also reducing the risk of falls, improving muscle strength, and maintaining healthy bones and joints. 

How much physical activity is recommended?

For adults, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week is recommended. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is anything that gets your heart beating faster. Adults should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least two times a week. The goal should be 30 minutes of activity, five days a week. It's important to remember to consult with a physician before starting any new exercise regimen. 

The four types of exercise 

There are four types of exercise, each with specific benefits. 

  • Endurance: Endurance exercises get your heart pumping and can improve cardiovascular and circulatory health. 

  • Strength: Loss of muscle mass is a natural part of the aging process. But improving muscle strength can help with balance, bone growth, and weight loss.

  • Balance: Balance exercises promote stability and help prevent falls, which are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans, according to the National Institute on Aging.

  • Flexibility: Stretching and staying flexible helps older adults move freely in daily activities and stay active longer. 

Each type of exercise is equally important, and it's best to try to incorporate all four to get the maximum effect.

What counts as a moderate amount of activity? 

While walking is the most popular form of exercise among older adults, there are many other ways to stay active, including:

  • Gardening & yardwork 

  • Housework 

  • Playing golf or tennis 

  • Bicycling

  • Dancing

  • Walking up and down stairs

  • Hiking

  • Swimming

The benefits of staying active

The health benefits of staying active for older adults cannot be understated. According to the National Institute on Aging, regular exercise can manage and/or prevent diseases like Alzheimer's, arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, to name a few. A 2006 study even found that exercising helped speed up the wound-healing process in older adults by up to 25%. 

There can be emotional benefits, too. Research has shown that exercise can help fight depression in seniors. It can also improve sleep, increase energy levels, reduce anxiety and stress, and aid in cognitive function. Physical activity can also help seniors stay active socially, which will help them stay motivated and engaged.

A sedentary lifestyle worsens health and quality of life. So when you're helping a loved one age in place, it's critical to encourage them to stay active. At Senior Helpers, we offer many services to give both you and your aging loved one peace of mind. These range from daily companion care, personal care, and respite care to specialized services for those with Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, Parkinson's Disease, and other chronic illnesses. Find out more about our services and schedule an in-home care assessment by contacting us today.