Best Steps towards Physical Fitness for Senior Citizens and their Aging Parents to Help Keep Them
Out of the Hospital!

You may have read or heard that physical fitness for senior citizens is important. That’s why many senior caregivers and our aging parents want to know what exercises can improve our health and strength.

  • You may want to jump right in (literally) on an exercise regimen for your aging parent, but it’s best to first have an assessment with their health care provider. They can tell you where your parent should focus their efforts for best results.

  • They can also pinpoint any types of exercises they should possibly avoid to prevent injury. Physical fitness for senior citizens can be different compared to younger people because of certain age-related risks.

Your next step may be to decide whether to get a gym membership for your parent or have them exercise at home. It’s important that physical fitness for senior citizens or anyone, for that matter, be done on a regular basis. If not, it won’t do any good. So decide what type of exercise program you (or your parent) will enjoy doing regularly.

  • If being in a crowd while exercising could be a turn-off, then avoid choosing a gym. On the other hand, if it is helpful having others around for encouragement, a gym or walking group might work better. Even just walking on a daily basis will improve your health and quality of life.

  • If you decide to go with a gym, check which ones offer physical fitness for senior citizens. Some have group classes- just for them. Ask, too, whether they have water exercise classes, unless there are physical limitations to avoid them.

    During your tour of the gym facility, notice how safe and comfortable it feels and how helpful the staff seems to be.

One active 87-year-old woman swims ten laps three times a week. She swears she notices more pain on the days when she does not swim and says her youthful energy comes mainly from swimming.

Decide how much time you or your aging parent will likely spend exercising each day and what time of day is preferable to do the exercising. Be realistic about both. Plan a physical fitness program that will be easy to stick to.

  • Set realistic goals for what you hope to achieve and then

  • Set a date to begin the exercise routine.

  • Buy the correct shoes, clothing, and equipment for what you plan to do.

You may want the target to be the main areas of the body (legs, arms, chest and abdomen).

  • Consider exercises that will strengthen through resistance and improve balance.

  • Ideally, your program would include moves that improve flexibility and heart rate.

  • It is recommended that your aging parent avoid injury with a warm-up of the particular muscle group. Begin with stretching before the exercise, and then cool down afterward.

We should always workout within our limits and stop doing anything that causes pain. We’re better off avoiding pain and exercising regularly than if we had to skip a day from pain.

Be active whenever possible. Even doing stretches to keep limber while watching TV is better than doing nothing.

All it takes is just a few minutes of exercise each day to feel and be healthier. There’s no better time to start than today.

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