Did you know that May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? While the name may initially lead you to think about common sports like soccer, basketball, or baseball, there is really so much more available for people who want to improve their fitness and quality of life. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult endeavor for many people who are mobility-limited due to age, illness, or injury. But the benefits of physical fitness cannot be overstated, and for this reason, it’s important for seniors and caregivers alike to seek out opportunities to improve physical well being. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some non-traditional or alternative ways to get seniors moving...and maybe breaking even breaking a sweat!
What are different ways for seniors in home care to engage in physical fitness?
- Online yoga classes. We’ve previously written about the benefits of yoga for the in home care crowd, and it is so easy to get access to online yoga now. For example, the site Yoga Anytime has videos specifically for seniors that aim to improve strength, balance, and physiological well being. Many of the yoga poses incorporate a chair for added support, and to reduce the risk of falls. (For more fall prevention tips, read this blog.) Yoga is something that family members or caretakers can also participate in relatively easily.
- Stationary exercises. For many seniors (especially those who are mobility limited), something like walking may not be easy to accomplish. But physical fitness is still important! Stationary exercises are those that can be accomplished while sitting or standing in one position. Examples of stationary exercises are touching your hands together above your head, doing leg raises in a chair, or something called the “Sofa Abs” workout (courtesy of Darebee).
- Dance the Macarena! Do you remember the early 90s hit “Macarena?” It took the pop world by storm and inspired millions of people to dance in place. But here’s the best thing: not only is it an incredibly catchy song, it can be done sitting as well! Most of the dance moves are arms, so someone with limited mobility can sing and dance along, which benefits emotional as well as physical well being.
- Slower paced sports like bocce, shuffleboard, and more. There’s a reason the stereotypical advertisement for senior cruises features happy old men and women playing shuffleboard or bocce - these sports are great ways to get outside, enjoy companionship, and throw a little competition into the mix. Best of all - these sports are easily modified to compensate for seniors who are not as mobile, or perhaps don’t have the strength they used to possess. Examples are using painted wiffle balls instead of bocce balls, or using lightweight golf clubs to improvise croquet or shuffleboard games. The bottom line is that traditional games can be modified for the enjoyment of seniors who may not be as mobile as they once were.
Does a loved one in your family need in home care assistance to foster physical fitness?
Companies or agencies that provide in home care can assist with many Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This includes assisting with physical fitness if required, but it can also mean meal preparation, light house cleaning, companionship, driving to appointments, and more. The caregivers at Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses are supremely qualified and thoroughly vetted - you can learn more about our caregivers here (or view our Caregiver Profiles!).