Keeping your aging parents active has tremendous health benefits. The difficult part is exercising consistently. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 75% of older adults do not exercise at recommended levels. If your aging loved one does not have any chronic health conditions that prevent them from exercising, it’s important to encourage them to be active and exercise in a safe and healthy way. The two main places where seniors can and should exercise are at a fitness center and/or by taking advantage of the great outdoors.
Fitness Center Exercising
A great place for seniors to exercise is at a local fitness center with licensed health care professionals. The benefits of exercising at a fitness center include:
- proper supervision and progression by licensed fitness experts
- indoor aerobic exercise equipment like treadmills or a track
- strengthening equipment like stationary lifting machines
- fitness classes with other seniors
- personalized training
If your parent(s) is exercising alone, a fitness center is strongly recommended because it is a great place to exercise safely, indoors, and with proper supervision.
Another place your parents can exercise is outside in the following ways:
- Walking briskly on a walking trail (or on a sidewalk in the neighborhood).
- Walking a pet
- Raking Leaves
Brisk “conversation” walking (meaning walking slow enough to be able to talk to someone without struggling to breathe) is a great activity that most people can do safely. Plan a route that goes on sidewalks or on a trail that is safe for pedestrians.
Additional Safety Tips
Make sure area your aging loved one walks in an area that has sidewalks or a pedestrian path, and is well lit (if walking at dawn, dusk, or night). Another great safety tip is to walk in a small group; this helps build community and also keep the pace appropriate.
Exercise can improve blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and overall heart health. Check with your local fitness centers about senior adult exercise classes and help get your aging loved one get and stay active.