People over 65 need a range of exercise
If you have a mother or father over 65, the advice about exercise can be very confusing. And, if you’re confused, imagine how confusing this is for mom or dad.
One doctor says that your father needs aerobics to maintain a healthy heart. That doctor may recommend an aerobics class.
Another doctor says that your mother needs to build up muscle. She needs to start lifting weights.
If mom took a spill on the ice, chances are a doctor is telling you she needs to work on her balance. He’s recommending physical therapy and exercises that involve standing on one foot and shifting weight.
Seniors need to work out their heart, muscles, and balance
Many middle-aged people learn to rely on one quick exercise regime. They go to the gym twice a week, jog a few miles a week, or bike to and from work. And that’s great, but when one is over sixty, one kind of exercise really is not enough to provide well-rounded health.
In fact, most people over 65 need all three kinds of exercise: aerobics for heart and lungs (also called endurance exercise), strength training to prevent muscle loss, and balance exercises to mitigate fall risks in the elderly.
Shouldn’t there be some kind of exercise that achieves all three goals? Yes, there is. Let’s reconsider the humble and nearly lost art of walking.
Soup up the walking and it triples as a strength exercise
Admittedly, if you are running twenty miles a week, walking may not make a substantial improvement in your health. But, for those of us who are not elite athletes, walking at a brisk pace is a good endurance/cardio workout. And it’s a much safer step-up exercise for people who are out of shape or significantly overweight.
The latest research shows that mom and dad should vary the pace at which they walk. Some elderly care experts recommend going at a comfortable pace for three minutes, then accelerating for one minute, then repeating that cycle. The heart and lungs benefit the most from this pattern.
Walking at a fast enough pace to get the heart pumping will build both heart health and balance automatically. But it may not be enough to maintain muscle tone by itself. This is where mom or dad may need to soup up his or her walk by pumping hand weights and/or wearing ankle weights. Just crunching one pound barbells turns a walk into a full spectrum exercise. Elderly care experts encourage increasing the weight one presses gradually to two pounds and then to three for optimal strength maintenance.
If you have been considering home care for your parents, it’s a good idea to start it before they get too debilitated. Home care professionals can help your parents get all three forms of exercise that they need to stay healthy. And that may be as simple as just accompanying mom or dad on a nice, long walk.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Washington Township, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Attentive Care Inc. 1-800-493-5660