Are you trying to help your elderly loved one become active?

Perhaps you’re running into roadblocks helping your elderly loved one be active?

It’s normal!

Even as younger people, there are those of us that naturally love to exercise and others who would never exercise if they could help it.

So if you’re having trouble motivating your elderly loved one to exercise, please realize that is is a normal response.

Exercise has many positive benefits no matter your age.

So in this post, I am going to give you 7 practical ways to encourage exercise for seniors.

7 Ways To Encourage Exercise For Seniors

#1- Offer to exercise with them

We have to live what we preach right?

So if you are asking your elderly loved one to get active, one of the best ways to do it is for you to model it yourself by participating in an exercise activity with them.

Research shows we are more likely to participate in an activity if there are other people doing it with us.

Exercises that you can do with them include:

  • Taking a walk in the park
  • If you prefer to work out at home, be the room together. You could be using the treadmill while they use a bicycle.
  • Using a video workout program? Schedule a time where you can do the video workout together.
  • If you’re both a fan of technology, getting a fitness tracker/smart watch like the Fit Bit allows you to be in competition with friends and family. Adding some competition into the game can mix things up and make it fun.

The likelihood that your loved one will exercise will increased dramatically if you exercise with them.

#2- Make it easy

Chances are your elderly loved one does not need to build up their muscles for a weight-lifting competition.

Make things easy for them.

As human beings, when anything is turned into a grueling chore, we tend to avoid that thing.

So make exercise and getting active as easy as possible for your elderly loved one.

#3- Take their health/physical condition into consideration

In helping your senior get active, please don’t ignore their health and physical condition.

In fact, I would say to consult with a doctor to make sure the physical activity you are planning on is safe for your loved one.

If they have diabetes, there are special considerations if there will be intense exercises.

#4- Get your healthcare provider on board

While we are still on the topic of talking to the doctor to make sure exercise is safe for your elderly loved one, it also helps if they are on board with their advice.

According to the National Institutes of Health recommendations, adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise activity 5 days in a week.

Interestingly, as we get older, compliance with this recommendation go down.

And understandably so.

Health problems tend to mount as we grow older.

Mobility typically becomes challenging.

And overall motivation to get involved in exercise activities goes down.

A research study published by Oxford Academic journal Age and Aging suggested that even though this is the case, getting healthcare providers involved helps.

Seniors who were reminded to exercise at their doctor’s appointment tended to exercise more than their counterparts who were not given these reminders at appointments.

#5- Find exercises they enjoy. Do more of those.

Nobody likes to do exercises they don’t enjoy.

If you find that your senior loved one does not like a particular exercise, don’t force it on them.

Instead, find out from them and also study which exercise activities they enjoy.

Encourage more of those activities.

#6- Stop if there is pain

A lot of exercise gurus say to work through the pain.

This is not safe.

Pain exists as one of our body’s mechanisms warning us that something is wrong.

While there may be some pain we feel during and/or after exercise, if the pain is unlike anything your loved one has ever experienced, it is time to stop the activity.

I would say to go a step further and to seek medical attention if need be.

Acquiring an injury during exercise can discourage people from exercising altogether.

#7- Celebrate wins along the way

This is especially important if your elderly loved one was not active before but has made the effort to stay consistent with their exercise regimen for a number of weeks or months.

We all love a pat on the back when we’ve done a good job.

Celebrate these wins along the way to encourage them.

Closing Thoughts

In this post, I’ve shared 7 practical ways to encourage exercise for seniors.

We all need motivation to reach our exercise goals.

Sticking to those goals as we get older is challenging regardless of who you are.

You can use these tips to encourage your elderly loved one to get up and go!

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