Exercise isn’t always easy. We all know how hard it can be starting something new, getting back into exercise after a long break or injury, or working out when you are overweight, unfit, or otherwise not in great shape. So, it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine how hard it is for our older parents and other elderly relatives.
However, exercise is extremely important as we get older. It helps both our physical and mental health, keeps us active, boosts our circulation, gives us something to think about and look forward to, and even provides us with a way to make new friends. Older people who exercise frequently are more likely to live for longer, enjoy a good quality of life, get injured less often, and face decreased risks of a huge range of health issues.
If you are worried that your elderly relatives aren’t getting enough, or any physical activity, here are some of the ways that you can encourage them to move more.
Set a Good Example
The first thing that you need to do is make sure you are setting a good example. If you don’t exercise, this is the time to start. Find something that you enjoy, talk about the benefits and how much fun you are having, and show your loved one how great exercise can be.
Consider Their Living Environment
Your older relative might find it hard to exercise if they live alone. They might feel lonely and lost, and they might need a little extra help with day-to-day tasks, never mind exercising. Sometimes, your elderly relatively might find it easier to be more active if they move into a facility such as McKnight Place where they can enjoy restorative therapy which can make exercise much easier.
Emphasize the Social Benefits
One of the best reasons for older people to exercise is to socialize. Many older people are lonely. After retirement, their social circle starts to get smaller, and they start to spend more time alone. Exercise is a great way to meet new people and get out of the house.
What we know about exercise, health, and how our bodies work is vastly different than what our parents knew when they were younger. Make sure you educate them on how exercise could improve their health, fitness, and quality of life.
Find Enjoyable Hobbies
Exercise doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym or going for a long run. Many of the hobbies that we enjoy get us moving more, which is great. If your loved one doesn’t fancy anything high impact, try going for walks together, gardening, or other outdoor activities that are gentle and enjoyable.
Check in with Their Mental Health
Ask yourself why your loved one isn’t exercising, or why they are spending more time alone at home? Mental health issues are common as we age. Exercise is great for mental health but being depressed or anxious can hold us back from getting out there. Check in with their mental health if you are worried.
Encouraging exercise is great, and certainly something positive that you can do for your loved one. But try not to put pressure on them. Encourage them gently, support them, but don’t overwhelm and try to always make things fun and enjoyable.