Experts say every adult should get 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. What do you do if your parents can't really walk far? How can they get enough exercise to keep joints limber and help with cardiovascular health?
There are two options. One would be to find local fitness classes for seniors that take place in a heated pool. If your parent can swim, these classes can be very beneficial. If that's not possible, chair exercises are also beneficial.
To do chair exercises at home, you could buy a DVD program or find videos online. You can also use this list of chair exercises that are designed to work the whole body.
With or without weights, arm circles are easy to do while sitting. Your mom or dad wants to sit straight and raise the arms so that they're parallel to the floor. Move the arms clockwise in circles for a count of 10. Reverse direction and do the same.
Reach over the head, if possible, and do the circles with the fingers pointing to the ceiling. Go clockwise first and then reverse the direction.
Sit slightly forward in the chair. Keep the back straight and put the hands on the hips. Have your parent turn to the right and then to the left. While the body twists to the left or right, turn the head as far as it will go to make sure the neck muscles benefit from being stretched. Repeat these body twists for a count of 50.
Again, have your parent sit straight. Lift one leg off the ground. Hold it for a count of 10 and slowly place it the foot back on the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat these lifts until each leg has been lifted 20 times.
Stretch the legs out and lift one so that the toes are pointing at the ceiling. Point the toes away from the body and roll the ankle in one direction and then the other direction. Bring the foot up as high as you can get it while keeping the leg straight. Return the leg to the original position and repeat with the other leg. Do this 20 times with each leg.
While sitting straight, have your parent start marching from a seated position. Raise the knees as high as they will go without causing any muscle strain. Repeat this for a count of 50.
Once your parent is doing chair exercises, make sure they stay with the new daily routine. A senior care aide can be there for encouragement and companionship. Plus, they'll have a senior care provider to assist with housework, meals, and transportation if desired. Call our senior care agency to schedule services.
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