Easing into Exercise with In Home Care
Today’s post breaks down the benefits of exercise for seniors, and shares some tips for incorporating physical fitness as part of your in home care service, courtesy of the Always Best Care SW Houston team.
The benefits of exercise for seniors
General “exercise-training” programs, consisting of warm-up exercises, aerobic work, light strength training, and cool-down, are recommended for all but the frailest of elderly patients.
Beyond improving longevity through various biomarkers, alleviating acute physical discomfort, and generally improving our quality of life, exercise-training interventions can lead to significant improvement in cognitive performance, executive functions, processing speed, and working memory (Langlois et al., 2013, p. 400-401).
Moreover, progressive resistance training programs that use bodyweight, exercise bands, or weight equipment are known to have a number of unique benefits for seniors, including:
- Increasing strength levels to lessen the strain of activities of daily living;
- Improving balance to decrease the likelihood of falls;
- Increasing bone density to mitigate the risk of broken bones;
- Improving gait mechanics to lessen joint stress;
- And increasing flexibility to reduce the likelihood of strains.
Interestingly, when compared to traditional yoga and flexibility programs for seniors in physiotherapy journal trials, progressive resistance training was found to produce “greater strength, gait and balance improvements in elderly people than a flexibility exercise program” (Barret & Smerdely, 2002, p. 215).
However, not everyone is prepared or even willing to take on a progressive resistance training program, where proper form and exercise supervision are critical. In fact, even the general exercise program mentioned above may be too much for beginners.
“Too much, too soon” is an everyday problem in the fitness industry that poses major risks for seniors. Research by the European Journal of Applied Physiology linked overexertion during exercise to increased fall-risk in seniors, so it’s crucial that we ease into new training programs patiently, and with plenty of communication between trainer/caretaker and client (Donath et al., 2013, p. 661).
Easing into exercise properly with in home care
In home care is a great starting point for your loved one’s exercising because it can be done alongside someone they trust in the comfort and privacy of the home.
Caretakers at our Katy, Texas location frequently help clients get active, and recommend the following strategies for easing into exercise:
- Add dashes of movement to your day. You don’t have to start at a gym to start reaping the benefits of exercise. Start slowly, adding movement throughout the day, whether that’s fitting in a lap around the living space during commercials, or drinking from small glasses to force more trips to the kitchen throughout the day.
- Get social. It’s much easier to motivate yourself to exercise when there’s a social element. Whether you get involved with a local sports team or walking club, or simply bring your in home care attendant for company while you get active running errands, getting social will make the whole experience much more enjoyable.
Learn more about what’s possible with our in home care services at https://www.alwaysbestcare.com/tx/katy/.
Barrett, C., & Smerdely, P. (2002). A comparison of community-based resistance exercise and flexibility exercise for seniors. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 48(3), 215-219.
Bean, J. F., Vora, A., & Frontera, W. R. (2004). Benefits of exercise for community-dwelling older adults 1. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 85, 31-42.
Donath, L., Zahner, L., Roth, R., Fricker, L., Cordes, M., Hanssen, H., & Faude, O. (2013). Balance and gait performance after maximal and submaximal endurance exercise in seniors: is there a higher fall-risk? European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(3), 661-669.
Langlois, F., Vu, T. T. M., Chassé, K., Dupuis, G., Kergoat, M. J., & Bherer, L. (2013). Benefits of physical exercise training on cognition and quality of life in frail older adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 68(3), 400-404.