We are entering the second full week of January. The holiday rush is over, winter is underway, and most people are working hard to stay on top of their New Years resolutions.
According to statistics compiled by the University of Scranton, nearly 62 percent of Americans made resolutions for the New Year and a majority of these people made resolutions in regards to their health. These include resolutions to:
- Lose weight
- Live a healthier lifestyle
- Maintain healthy exercise routines
Even if you or your elderly loved one didn’t make one of these New Years resolutions this year, it is never too late to begin living a healthier and more active lifestyle. As we all know, regular physical activity and exercise is good for us! This is especially true for our elderly loved ones.
Why Should the Elderly Stay Active?
There are many benefits to developing a good exercise program for your elderly loved one. It is recommended that the elderly participate in at least 15 minutes of physical activity each day. Helping our elderly maintain an active lifestyle not only helps them regulate their weight but it also helps them reduce their risk of diseases and manage healthy stress levels. Studies also show that keeping our elderly active also helps them:
- Increase their self-esteem
- Maintain good balance
- Reduce their risk of experiencing a life altering fall
Considering the importance of helping your elderly loved one maintain a healthy lifestyle, we spoke with our caregivers and they gave us a list of their favorite exercises to do with their elderly clients. In this blog we will be focusing on one of four aspects of a healthy exercise routine for the elderly: stretching exercises. In future blogs we will also be discussing strength exercises, balance exercises and endurance exercises all tailored to your elderly loved ones.
Stretching exercises are extremely important because they help maintain mobility and range of motion. Flexibility is especially key in keeping your loved ones active because it relieves tension within the joints and fights the loss of movement. Maintaining range of motion is key in keeping an active lifestyle for any older adult.
The following are some great stretching exercises to do with your elderly loved one:
- Upper Body Stretches– Focuses on upper back, neck, and arm mobility.
- Shoulder Rolls
- Neck Rotation
- Arm Raises
- Lower Body Stretches– Focuses on hip, ankle, knee and leg mobility
- Calf stretch
- Ankle Circles
- Hamstring Stretch
Things to remember when stretching:
- Start slow- stretching should be relaxing, not painful
- Incorporate new stretches slowly as well
- Breathe while you stretch
- Don’t move quickly, instead move your body slowly and easily
- Try to hold a stretch for up to 30 seconds
An effective exercise routine should aim to incorporate stretching exercises 2-3 times per week. This with other exercises will help your elderly loved one to maintain or improve their health in 2015. Here’s to a healthy New Year!
If you still have questions and concerns about how to help your elderly loved one start exercising more please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one needs.
Wiser Home Care Services: Care for the ones you love!