February 6, 2010

The truth is, that the functional decline many older adults experience has less to do with aging and more to do with leading a sedentary lifestyle.   The elderly in America desperately need to improve their physical fitness.

Some tips to keep in mind:

1.  Talk to your doctor first — It is always important to consult a physician before starting a new exercise regimen.  Your doctor can help you find a program that is safe and suited to your physical needs.

2.  Start small — Getting fit doesn’t necessarily mean strenuous workout.  The benefits of even moderate exercise for seniors are great. Exercise needn’t take a large time commitment, either, particularly if a senior is frail. Initially, an exercise routine can be as short as 6 minutes, repeated throughout the day. Research shows that frail seniors elders have seen improvements with as little as 30 cumulative minutes of exercise a week!

3.  Make it routine — The real commitment comes with a mental pledge to “keep at it.” Creating a routine for specific exercise times each day helps foster a longer-term commitment.

4.  Choose activities that are safe, simple and help build strength — There are several very helpful exercises — knee and hip extensions, and side leg raises are examples — that require no more equipment than a sturdy chair.  You can find complete directions and illustrations of many exercises that are safe for most people at www.continuumcare.com.

5.  Focus on technique —  Exercise is only effective if you do it the right way.  Complete all movements in a slow, controlled fashion. Don’t hold your breath. Stop if you feel pain.  And stretch each muscle after your workout.

Continuum, providers of quality in home care St Louis seniors deserve, can help older adults stay active and maintain a doctor-approved exercise routine. Contact us today to learn more about our in home care services in St. Louis and surrounding communities.