Senior women have much to gain from getting fit, and engaging in physical activity is one of the easiest ways for them to boost their health. The caregivers at Vancouver Home Care Assistance have a few tips to help your aging loved one get started on an exercise regimen and get into better shape.
1. Invest in Appropriate Exercise Clothing
Though exercising itself doesn’t necessarily cost anything, it’s important to invest in the proper footwear and clothing to prevent discomfort and even injury. If your loved one is planning on walking, jogging, or playing tennis, she should purchase athletic shoes that fit well. A good pair of shoes will support your loved one’s feet, preventing blisters and injuries. Also, the proper clothing can help prevent chafing, whether your loved one needs a well-fitting swimsuit for lap swimming or comfortable clothing for walking.
2. Start Small
It may be tempting to try a vigorous routine to get in shape quicker. In reality, doing more than the body is used to can cause strained muscles, back injuries, and leg pain, which can slow down your loved one’s healthy exercise plan. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends senior women participate in 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week, spreading out these activities into 10-minute sessions.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Lift
Women often shy away from strength training in the form of lifting weights because of a fear of “bulking up.” However, women don’t produce enough testosterone to gain as much muscle as men, especially in their senior years. Strength training has a variety of benefits for women over 65, which include:
- Preventing osteoporosis
- Strengthening muscles to prevent injuries
- Increasing basal metabolic rate
Your loved one can start with small weights and increase the weight gradually to prevent strained muscles, and she should never hold her breath while lifting because it can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels.
4. Get Outdoors
A study done by the University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke found women over age 50 who exercised outside were more likely to exercise for a longer period and boost their mood. Encourage your loved one to walk at a nearby park, swim at the community pool, or play with her grandchildren outdoors if weather permits.
5. Work Out with Friends
Exercising with friends is often more fun than doing it alone, and it also increases the likelihood of sticking to the routine. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior found people who exercised with friends had increased energy and mood and decreased feelings of fatigue.
Encouragement and support can go a long way toward helping seniors get the exercise they need. If your loved one needs a companion to assist with regular physical activity, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one maintain a fitness routine, and they can also assist with a wide array of other tasks. For more information on live-in and respite care Vancouver, BC, seniors can count on, call one of our experienced Care Managers at today.