senior couple riding bikesAge can be a debilitating aspect of your parent’s life, especially as they begin to progress in mobility and independence.

But this doesn’t have to stop them from living their life to the fullest and maintaining a healthy active lifestyle!

Regular exercise is a great way to build healthy habits right into your parent’s lives and can actually prolong healthy living.

Not only is being inactive dangerous because it can lead to decreased muscle mass and independent mobility, but in order for elderly people to remain healthy, they should practice regular exercising habits. Additionally, exercise can help manage stress and mood changes, as well as delaying the onset of diseases associated with inactivity. Leading causes of death within the United States, like heart disease and diabetes, can be avoided by healthy living habits and exercise. Here are some ways in which you can help your elderly parents exercise.

If your elderly parents are new to exercising, start slowly and build up from there. Know your limits, as over exertion can lead to intense fatigue and weakness. By committing to a regular weekly schedule that slowly increases with intensity, elderly people can take advantage of their mobility and make healthy lifestyle choices.

The first step is to build cardio endurance. Try a fast paced walk around your neighborhood for a half an hour, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, tennis, or dancing. By building endurance, elderly people help to strengthen their independence by improving capability to perform daily activities like walking, house cleaning, and running errands. Cardio exercises help increase oxygen and nutrients flow to tissues, helping your elderly parents to feel invigorated and more energized with regular performance.

The second step is strengthening muscles. By building up muscles using body weights, machines, or elastic bands, seniors will stay independent and able to perform day-to-day activities easier. Lifting objects, getting in and out of the car, carrying groceries, and walking or standing on feet for long periods of time will become easier.

The third step is to increase senior flexibility. Not only will this enable seniors to move around with ease, static and ballistic stretches are great ways to stay limber and allow muscles to perform daily activities without the worry of pulling a muscle or feeling stiff. Elderly parents will begin to enjoy the payoffs of exercising regularly, especially when they are able to easily play with their grandparents.

The fourth step is to increase balance. This is an important step, as many seniors are fearful of falling or slipping while running errands or at home alone. Practicing slow moving balance exercises in yoga and Tai Chi can help seniors not only increase balance but also increase confidence in being and remaining independent.

Many seniors choose to exercise in the form of walking, sports or fitness classes specifically designed for elderly customers, and even water aerobics and water sports. These classes are a great way for the elderly to remain accountable for their regular exercise, in addition to providing companionship and a network of other seniors who are maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

These exercise options combined with yoga or Tai Chi are a great way to increase blood flow, release endorphins, and help your aging parents to feel healthier, younger, and better about their new stage of life. Try even exercising with your parents to make them feel like they are not alone. This can be a fun way to spend time together as well as ensure that they are happy and healthy.

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