The pursuit of an active lifestyle – not to mention the physical and mental benefits associated with exercise – for seniors, doesn’t come to an end just because of limited mobility. Although every senior is different, barriers to movement can usually be overcome with modified movements and the selection of activities likely to promote muscle strength and flexibility.
If you have an aging parent or loved one who is living with limited mobility, the in-home caregivers from trusted Milwaukee home care provider, Home Care Assistance, recommend the following safe, strength building and engaging physical activities:
- Swimming – Being submerged in water automatically reduces the weight of limbs, making it easier to move. The warm water of indoor pools also has therapeutic benefits that can help relieve muscle tension and soreness. For seniors who can handle something a little more challenging, water aerobics offers a safer alternative to traditional aerobic activities.
- Strength Training – Keeping muscles strong tends to help seniors alleviate joint stiffness often associated with age. Lifting appropriate weights (dumbbells usually work best) can prevent muscle deterioration from inactivity. Strength training can also involve the act of pushing against someone’s hands while they gently push back.
- Flexibility Exercises – Seniors with limited mobility can benefit from activities that promote flexibility like yoga (with modified movements) and simple stretches from one side to the other. Even taking casual walks with the assistance of a cane or moving a wheelchair by hand from one point to another can make it easier for seniors to perform everyday movements.
- Wheelchair Activities – Seniors limited to a wheelchair can often do things like performing controlled, repetitious arm movements, catching and throwing a soft ball and making exaggerated grasping motions with their hands and fingers.
Safety is always of the utmost importance for seniors who are starting or increasing their level of physical activity. Along with performing activities in the presence of a family member or a highly-trained caregiver, a few additional tips to ensure and promote senior safety include:
- Starting slowly (increasing activity level at a comfortable rate)
- Setting small, achievable goals (to reduce frustration)
- Doing proper warm-ups and cool downs (to prevent cramping and muscle injuries)
- Drinking plenty of fluids
Seeking doctor approval is the first step any senior should take before starting an exercise program or participating in activities beyond their normal daily routine. While some soreness is normal, especially for seniors without a previous history of being active, any sudden pain or persistent discomfort should be reported immediately.
If your aging parent or loved one could use a helping hand, motivation or encouragement with a new or routine exercise plan, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Milwaukee today and find out how our in-home caregivers can help. All of our compassionate caregivers are available for hourly or live-in care and are highly trained, bonded, licensed and insured. To request more information or a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call 414-964-8000 and speak with a friendly Care Manager.