How to Convince and Encourage the Elderly to Exercise

Trying to convince anyone to exercise has its challenges. It’s even more difficult if a senior is involved. However, if there were an age bracket that could reap more from exercise, this is. Regular exercise among the elderly can mean the difference between a healthy, happy, and independent individual and one who’s marred by severe health issues and complications. The benefits of frequent exercise are many. They’ve been shown to lower mortality and the risk of developing chronic conditions. Since many seniors are least physically active, it’s vital to encourage them to exercise. “How you get someone to exercise is not different across different age brackets,” explains Keith Birkemeier, program manager for Scott & White Healthcare. So, here’s how you can encourage your seniors to exercise regularly.

1. Start Small

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Start your loved one with a comfortable routine. Simplifying the training for them makes the goals seem more realistic and achievable. For instance, starting small could include a 30-minute workout session twice a week. Over time, they can engage in pedal exercises and other forms of activities for about 30-to-45-minute sessions four or five times per week. You can also encourage your senior loved ones to exercise by simplifying the routine based on their abilities. Helping seniors with exercise can easily overwhelm you if you’re doing it alone. When possible, look for professional caregivers in your area to help you during the sessions.

2. Incorporate a Social Element

Maybe your aged mom enjoys talking with a fellow woman about life, about other people’s lives, best recipes, and everything in between! Perhaps your dad enjoys discussing business, politics, or their favorite TV talk show. Now, imagine how incorporating this social element with exercise can motivate them to look forward to their workouts. If your senior loved ones find some particular topics or areas fascinating and will go to great lengths to discuss them, incorporate them during your exercise sessions. Also, a group walk or a group dance class is perhaps something that can bring in that spark to exercise in your parents.

3. Make it Exciting and Fun

Unfortunately, one of the downsides of getting older is that you start to lose long-time acquaintances, relatives, and spouses. In most cases, seniors often feel lonely. You need to reassure your aged mom or dad that many fitness centers have programs suited for older people. Ideally, these are places where your seniors can network and connect with other seniors. Applaud the benefits of making new connections – people who are also invested in their well-being and health. Tag them along when going to shop for new gear. Steer them towards attires that will make them feel powerful and attractive.

4. Offer Rewards

They’ve likely received lots of gifts in their lives. But, you want to offer your senior loved one a special gift when they complete a fitness goal. You can reward your senior with a favorite treat, tickets to a sports game, or gift vouchers to use at a local store. The thought of receiving a reward after achieving a goal could motivate your senior loved one to exercise regularly. This is a powerful mind hack as the brain fixates on thought and responds with positive behavior. Over time, the idea of receiving a reward may increase the likelihood of your loved one’s odds of regularly exercising.

5. The Benefits of Exercising

Have a candid talk with your aged parents and explain what they stand to gain by exercising. Explain how adding cardio exercises like jogging or cycling will help prevent or control conditions like High Blood Pressure. Appeal to their vanity by explaining how a heart-pumping workout will help with their body weight – whether losing or maintaining. You can also introduce yoga as an option. Many fitness centers hold classes, especially for seniors. The trainers in such centers have been trained to adjust the poses for older bones.

6. Ensure They aren’t Bored

Is your senior loved one open to changes? If he or she is, you can motivate them to try different forms of workout. This helps to ensure they’re never bored. As we mentioned above, start small: light jogging for the first month, yoga in the second, dance class in the third, and gym in the fourth. You can also have a mixture of everything in the first week.

Physical activity isn’t the only way seniors can improve their health. Older adults who want to maintain a high-quality life can consider professional in-home care. This is highly recommended as your senior loved one will be under the supervision of a professional caregiver. These professionals will help your parents exercise, diet, and assist with their mobility issues. Over to you!