It’s normal for aging adults to experience a decline in fitness and mobility, which can lead to a decrease in motivation to exercise. However, staying active is crucial to maintaining health and well-being in older adults. Here, we’ll look at ways that you can help your aging parents get back into an exercise routine and enjoy it.

The Benefits of Exercise for Aging Parents

Regular exercise has numerous benefits for aging parents, including:

  • Maintaining muscle mass and strength
  • Improving flexibility and balance
  • Reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  • Boosting mood and cognitive function

Understanding these benefits can help motivate your parents to start and maintain an exercise routine.

Identify Barriers to Exercise

Health worries, aches and pains, and a lack of mobility can make it hard for your loved one to exercise. If there’s anything that you, or they, are worried about, encourage them to see a doctor before thinking about starting any exercise plan.

Another barrier can be isolation. Your parents might worry about exercising alone, they might even have anxiety about going out alone. If they live far away, you can get help to relocate your parents, either to a senior living community, or to be closer to you, to help with this isolation.

Choose the Right Exercise Program

The right exercise program for aging parents will depend on their individual needs and abilities. Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling are great options for seniors. Strength training exercises can also help maintain muscle mass and bone density.

Make Exercise Fun

One of the keys to getting aging parents to love exercise is to make it enjoyable. Consider activities that your parents enjoy, such as dancing, gardening, or playing with grandchildren. Exercising with friends or family can also make it more enjoyable and provide social benefits.

Encourage Exercise in Daily Life

This can include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the entrance to the grocery store or taking a walk after dinner. Small changes like these can add up to significant improvements in health and fitness.

Address Safety Concerns

Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to exercise for older parents. Make sure your parents have appropriate footwear and clothing and avoid exercises that could be dangerous or cause injury. Encourage your parents to warm up and stretch before exercising and to listen to their bodies if they experience pain or discomfort.

Overcoming Resistance to Exercise

It’s not uncommon for aging parents to resist exercise. Try to understand their reasons for resistance and address their concerns. Offer support and encouragement and be patient as they adjust to a new routine.

If your parents haven’t enjoyed regular exercise for a while, or have faced injury, illness, or mobility issues, it’s normal for them to have worries about getting back out there. Getting advice from a healthcare professional can help put their mind at ease, and encouraging them to enjoy movement with things like gardening, and walks with friends, can help them to enjoy the benefits of exercise.