Supporting Seniors to Stay Active
Are you the one always trying to get your older friends or family members motivated to be physically active? It is often a tough battle when the ones you love may find it harder to move the way they used to. As you age, that feeling of motivation to get out and exercise can decrease for many reasons. For starters, some people may not feel confident in themselves to exercise properly. They may be afraid of falling, or they simply do not know where to start.
Here are some suggestions to help them get started.
- Start small, such as a short walk each day or getting up between TV commercials
- Suggest activities you can do with them or something they can do socially
- Provide encouragement for small efforts or changes in behaviour
- Recommend walking or biking to a destination that is close by
- Encourage them to set attainable goals and track their progress
- Suggest they pick a certain time each day to do a physically activity that works best for them
- Remind them that any amount of physical activity is better than none
The National Council on Aging recommends exercising to keep your heart healthy and your motivation up. The first step should be to exercise moderately for 30 minutes, five days a week. This could include walking, swimming, or using a stationary bicycle. The other form of exercise that could be incorporated into a healthy routine is muscle strengthening activities two days a week. This could include wall push ups, or just getting up and down from your chair. These recommendations are meant to be inclusive of those with arthritis as well. If you would like more information on seniors’ physical activity recommendations, please visit https://www.ncoa.org/article/exercise-programs-that-promote-senior-fitness
Another way to motivate your loved ones to get a little more activity in their day is to educate them on the importance of remaining physically active into their senior years. As mentioned in some previous articles, as you age, your arteries are at risk of becoming harder and plaque can cause blockages, often leading to heart attacks or other major heart events. If you need help educating a loved one, invite them to attend Northern Hearts “Talk with Doc” when Dr. Andrew Affleck, CCFP (EM), will discuss “Aging and Your Heart”. The online talk will be held on Zoom from 7-8pm on November 17th. There are no fees to attend but registration is required. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your registration link.
To keep up to date with all things heart health, Northern Hearts has a comprehensive webpage that you can share with a friend if they are interested in learning more about heart health. The site also contains information on the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and sleep to help prevent heart disease and lists heart healthy events that are going in the community. You can visit it here at www.northernhearts.org. Or, if you prefer weekly updates on healthy topics, you can follow Northern Hearts on Facebook or Instagram @NorthernHeartsThunderBay.
Submitted by Kayla Waddington, Northern Hearts Program Coordinator