With Senior Health and Fitness Day approaching, there are plenty of ideas for how to encourage your older loved ones to take their strength and conditioning seriously. We’ve offered our own take on the subject from time to time, as well.
Our caregivers across the country work with people in all stages of baseline health and mobility. Based on their reports, starting is sometimes the easy part. But as many of us know from our own experiences, many exercise plans start off strong only to wither away before they become established routine.
There are several reasons for this. Sometimes our goals are a bit ambitious and the exercise becomes too strenuous. Other times we underestimate the time commitment required or other pressing matters interrupt our progress. But one of the most common reasons we hear is that the exercise routine becomes boring.
It’s just no fun.
That may be the answer as to why your older loved one is considering a new fitness plan. Start with something fun. If he or she enjoys gardening, for example, look for opportunities to use that activity —even after the front yard flower beds are finished—by joining a garden club or volunteering at a community center or house of worship.
When the activity is fun, the exercise stops being a chore.
The fun, of course, doesn’t have to be the exercise activity, itself. Walking or water aerobics are just two examples of fitness activities that give ample opportunity for socializing while you’re getting in your workout. Experts say if you can’t carry on a conversation during the exercise, you’re probably going too fast anyway.
And let’s face it, we all could use a little more exercise in our lives, too. So, doing something together can encourage your loved one to stay active while building a better relationship.
Some other ideas we’ve heard include window shopping, lawn games, and even miniature golf. But our favorite has to be the classic, playing with the grandchildren. And if there are none available, consider daycare centers or schools, which often need positive adult role models for their children and students.
Of course, all of us should check with a primary care physician to make sure we’re ready to start a new exercise program. He or she may be able to offer some suggestions as well.
What are your ideas for fun things to do that keep seniors active without the drudgery of an exercise regimen? Join the conversation on Facebook.