As we age, we often naturally tend to slow down. Sometimes, seniors develop aches and pains that also lead to changes in their movement and ability. One way to try to keep up their movement and independence is to keep their body, and what propels it, flexible.Tips for Improving or Maintaining FlexibilityWith flexibility, the body can move freer, go farther and feel less pain. Flexibility can help with strength, balance and overall well-being. It also can help reduce pain and injuries. Maintaining flexibility is one of the keys to helping seniors live independent lives.Stretch ItOne key to keeping the body flexible is stretching. Many studies have shown that stretching the body helps improve flexibility. There are many ways to start a stretching routine. You can even begin by stretching in bed before you get up in the morning. Stretching cold muscles, however, can cause injury, so make sure to warm them up a little before beginning any routine. If youre looking for some guidance on your stretching journey, join a yoga class geared specifically toward beginners or senior citizens. For some extra fun while stretching, head down to the beach for your yoga, where many classes are offered weekly and often are free.If youd rather stretch at home, there are many things you can do right from the comfort of your living room or even on the lanai, including these basic stretches with descriptions and visuals from the Mayo Clinic.Just Get Up and GoWhile it might seem simple, simply moving is one of the best ways to maintain flexibility. Using those joints and muscles each day keeps them in tip-top shape. If people tend to sit too much or lie down, they can lose their flexibility and strength, which in turn can lead to a lack of independence and relying on others for more help. So get out there and do what you love or what you enjoy, as long as it involves some kind of movement. Even simply increasing the amount you walk each day can improve your flexibility. Add 100 steps each day to your routines. Park a little further out when heading to the beach. Walk to the pool instead of driving. Each of these steps can help increase the amount you walk and increase flexibility and overall strength. If biking is more your thing, hop on and go. You also can increase flexibility in the water. Swimming, or even just walking back and forth in the water, can be easier on the joints, while still providing needed exercise. Remember, Its Not Gone ForeverThere is some good news out there. Perhaps youve let things slide a bit or gotten lazy. You can feel that your flexibility isnt what it used to be. You might feel stiffness or pain when you move. Perhaps bending down to put your socks on is getting harder and harder. Many studies show that working on your flexibility now, even after the age of 65, can help you regain some of your flexibility.You can start as simple as you like. You can even march in place to begin. Or maybe you want to hang onto the stairway banister and do some leg lifts. Even standing on one foot and working your way up to 30 seconds per foot can help with flexibility. The more you do, the more flexible you will become. If youve never considered yourself super flexible but commit to a routine now, you may even be more nimble than you ever thought possible. Just keep increasing what you are doing each day, and in turn, you can increase your flexibility and overall health and well-being.We Can HelpWhether your senior loved ones want someone with them as they stretch every day and work on their health or they simply need a companion, Visiting Angels Sarasota has the right caregivers to help. Our referral network of caregivers can provide many services to help your senior with everything from getting ready in the morning to bathing before bed. The caregivers also can help you focus on what is important in life while helping to take care of everyday tasks for your senior and your family.Visiting Angels Sarasota helps local seniors in Sarasota, Siesta Key, St. Armands Key and the surrounding areas to age in place while having full, independent, safe and dignified lives. For information on using an in-home caregiver, call us at (941) 952-5800 or contact us online by.
Often the hardest part of doing something new is getting started, and that's especially true about exercise. This article from AARP makes it easy to get started with the most important exercise to help you age healthy: squats. Five or ten squats are easy to do while you wait for the coffee to brew or the microwave to finish heating.Even when we're healthy we sometimes need a little extra help with the house or errands. Visit our website at www.rosehillathome.com to learn more about how Rose Hill Stay-at-Home Services can help you or a loved one stay in independent and at home.
As the the baby boomers age the number of adults over 55 is growing rapidly. They call it The Silver Tsunami Ive worked with aging adults over the last 22 years and there is definitely a shift in mind set in the baby boomer generation. For one, they are more proactive about their health and more likely to participate in exercise and physical activity. This is wonderful but is this age group getting the right kind of physical activity.Drive by any senior living community or suburban neighborhood on a nice day and you will see people out walking. Walking is great exercise, it burns calories, improves aerobic conditioning and its functional.but walking is not enough. The ACSM recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity a day, thats 30 min 5 times a week. They also recommend strength training a minimum of 2 days a week and to also incorporate balance training as well.Benefits of Strength Training for Older AdultsWe begin to lose muscle mass in our 30s and the process only speeds up as we age and more exponentially for those who are sedentary. Strength training has shown to not only help older adults live longer but improve their quality of life as well. With benefits such as:Improved strengthImproved muscle massImproved physical functionImproved management or risk of developing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, and osteoporosisManage conditions such as low back pain and obesityHowever some surveys report only 9% of older adults participate in some sort of strength training. And these recommendations are not just for healthy active aging adults, the same hold true for frail adults as well. There is even evidence that improved diet along with strength training can reverse frailty in older adults.What types of Strength Training?The ACSM recommends 8-10 strength training exercise with 10-15 reps per exercise. These exercises should address all the muscle groups. Also to reap the long term benefit for strength training, the program should be progressive. This means you need to make it harder. The last 2-3 reps of each exercise should be somewhat difficult, it you are completing 15 reps easily you need to increase your weight. That means put those 2lb pink weights away!! Strength training can include:Free weights or weight machinesResistance bandsBody weight exercises (good ole counter push ups!!)Is Strength Training OK for Everyone?With a few unusual exceptions, I would say YES!!! Always check with your doctor before starting any kind of new exercise program, and if you have any health conditions, such as arthritis or cardiac conditions, check with your doctor to see if you have any lifting restrictions. However I am here to tell you strength training is beneficial at most any age. I have been working with a client for the past year. She is 95 years old, about 411 and maybe 90 pounds. When we started she could lift a 1 pound weight and needed frequent rest breaks. Today we are using 3 pound weights, shes moved up 3 levels in resistance bands, takes only 2 breaks and her family is even considering traveling with her cross country to visit family because she is functioning so much better. The focus of her program has been strength and balance training. And I dont feel she is an exception, many seniors out there have the same potential given the right guidance.Where to Start?Start with a medical clearance from your doctor to be sure exercise is safe for you. There are actually very few instances where exercise in contraindicated. Once cleared there are several avenues you can take.Check out your local senior center, they often have low cost exercise programs, but make sure you are advancing your weight or resistance to get the most benefit.Youtube has tons and tons of videos of exercise programs and yes, they have videos geared to seniors.Check out your local gym. Most gyms offer a few free sessions with a personal trainer to get you started and make sure you are using proper form.Community and Apartment gyms. The community you live in may have a great fitness facility and maybe even classes.Personal Training. Now as a personal trainer I am biased here. But I do believe its a good investment to make sure you are getting a program thats right for you and that your are progressing appropriately to get the most benefit. Make sure you research the trainer you are considering. Are they Certified by a reputable organization? ACSM, NASM, and ACE are some of your most reputable. Are they experienced in working with adults over 55? Look for certified Senior Fitness Specialist or someone with a proven track record working with seniors. Ask for references specifically from other seniors or family.Strength training should be a corner stone of any fitness program but it is especially important for adults over 55 in order to remain strong and independent as they age.