Keep Moving: The Mantra of Aging Gracefully

“Move it or lose it!” Not sure if that expression was originally used to describe aging, but it should have been. Maintaining your mobility is key to keeping your independence as you age. In order to have the best quality of life in your senior years, you have to fight the urge to be a solitary couch potato. 

Here are some (of the many!) advantages to staying active in your senior years. The United Methodist Communities HomeWorks team has also included examples of mobility exercises that older adults can perform safely at home.

Why exercise is key for older adults 

It’s safe to say that everyone could be exercising a bit more – after all, the most popular New Year’s resolution is to sign up for the gym! But it’s even more important for adults over 60 years old. Here’s why:

  • Helps you stay independent. When you lose your mobility as a senior, you lose a part of your independence. And the only way to prevent this from happening is to keep moving! Just 30 minutes a day of strength and cardio training will help older adults build the necessary muscle mass to keep them moving without any extra help.
  • Supports healthy brain activity. Physical activity is just as essential for brain health as mental stimulation. Exercise helps to boost blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body. Not to mention, multiple studies show that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia by as much as 30%.
  • Reduces arthritis pain. Exercising regularly lubricates your joints which helps reduce the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. It also reduces overall pressure on your joints, which can help you shed some unwanted weight more easily. 
  • Lowers your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is an extremely common condition for older adults in the US. Exercise is incredibly effective at lowering the risks for heart disease because it improves circulation to the heart, helps reduce excessive weight, and keep issues like high cholesterol and diabetes at bay. 
  • Promotes better sleep. One of the most common issues seniors experience —  trouble sleeping. Not only do we tend to sleep lighter as we age, many medications can also prevent us from sleeping well. Exercise is a great cure, helping to tire the body and mind. Just remember to exercise each day (preferably not in the two hours before bed) and you should be able to sleep soundly every night.
  • Helps fight depression. There are many ways to treat depression, and one of the most effective is exercise, which can reduce symptoms by as much as 30%. Not only does exercise benefit the body, it also helps the mind by preventing and treating feelings of isolation, depression, loneliness, and anxiety.

Senior mobility exercises to try

There’s no need to order the latest Nikes and start training at a marathon level. Exercise should be something you enjoy that is tailored to your abilities, not some dreaded event you don’t want to get out of bed for. Here are some mobility exercises suited for older adults. Please note: consulting your primary caregiver before performing any new exercises is advised. 

  • Yoga and pilates – Build strength, improve balance, and relax your mind with yoga and pilates. What’s great is you don’t have to leave your home to participate! You can find many free yoga and pilates videos to follow on YouTube.

  • Dancing – Dance is the perfect balance of entertainment and exercise, allowing you to enjoy great music and get a good cardio workout in at the same time. Like yoga and pilates, you can dance in the comfort and privacy of your own home with many videos available to watch on YouTube. 
  • Nature walks – The outdoors benefit  the mind, body, and soul! Although it’s cold outside, it’s more than feasible to bundle up before taking a short walk around the neighborhood. 

 

Exercising with UMC HomeWorks  

The hardest part of sticking to a workout routine is staying motivated. You have to hold yourself accountable. A lot of the time, it helps when you have someone else to hold you accountable as well. With UMC HomeWorks, we have home health aides available who can come to your home and provide as little or as much support as needed. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, shopping or getting a morning workout in, our carefully screened and certified aides are ready to help! 

To find out more about our in-home care services, please contact us today or visit our website at: https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/home-health-aide-services/