I’ve watched people in my life get lazy, get unhealthy, get sick and pass on. There are no words to describe the frustration. You want to scream at your loved one “take care of yourself!” but there’s nothing you can do. The challenge is that once someone gets to a certain age and/or lack of mobility, it feels impossible to start an exercise fitness program. Well, it’s not.
Here are some tips that can help an aging loved one feel more secure and optimistic as they take on the world of health and wellness.
You may be thinking “Buzz Kill”. I get it, but at a certain age even stretching can be a health risk if it’s not done properly and with a doctor’s blessing. I give you an example from my own life. I love massage…and I mean LOVE. However, I also have had surgery that puts my back in jeopardy if I’m not careful. Unfortunately, I recently had a massage on a trip that aggravated my injury. I thought it wouldn’t be an issue, but guess what? I was wrong. I’m doing OK now, but relief didn’t come without considerable pain and expense.
Work With A Specialist
Begin your program with a fitness instructor who specializes in working with an aging population. Make sure they understand your medical challenges and what your doctor said you could and could not do. Now not all professionals are at the same level of expertise. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself if he or she asks you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Begin Slowly and Don’t Ignore Your Body
This is very important, particularly if it’s been more than a year since you’ve exercised. Tendons and ligaments get tighter and weaker over time. Tendons are responsible for holding muscle to bone and ligaments are responsible for holding bone to bone. Therefore, when they are tight and weak you are more susceptible to muscle and bone injury as well as torn tendons and ligaments.
If you feel pain as you begin your stretching and exercise, back off. Let your body warm up slowly. This will help to prevent strain and injury from overuse. Your body will likely not respond as well as you remember so take care. Make small, consistent improvements and you’ll be happy that you did.
Incorporate Exercises That You Enjoy
Motivation quickly goes out the door if you view your exercise program as a chore or a bore. There are so many different types of exercise that you can do. You can bring on a workout partner, exercise in a pool or even join a class if your team of professionals says it’s OK. You may even make some new friends along the way.
Cool Down and Rest
A slow cool down and rest is vital to reduce the risk of injury. Sure when you’re young you can go right from a sweaty workout to the cool night air seemingly without a problem. (Of course, it’s not good when you’re young either.) Protect yourself by taking a few minutes to slow your workout down allowing your muscles to contract and relax more naturally. Then give your body at least 15 minutes of rest.