Posts Tagged ‘senior exercise’

Exercise for Older Adults: A Little Goes a Long Way Towards Maintaining Independence

by: John Aker | January 20th, 2017

Exercise for Older AdultsA healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and fitness is highly emphasized in today’s society, but when it comes to frail older adults, exercise and fitness are not necessarily health topics that come readily to mind.  However, the benefits of even moderate exercise for seniors are so great that it should not be overlooked. Recent studies suggest that senior citizens who exercise – even if they didn’t exercise when younger – tend to live longer, healthier, happier lives. This is due in no small part to a renewed or strengthened ability to perform daily activities independently and better fight through illnesses.

While some physical weakness may be a part of the natural aging process, functional decline is often the result of a sedentary lifestyle. The National Institute on Aging released startling statistics after a physical health study performed on elderly aged 75 and older that demonstrated the desperate need to improve the fitness health of frail seniors. The study revealed that 40 percent of the seniors studied could not walk two blocks; 32 percent could not climb 10 steps; 22 percent could not lift 10 pounds; and 7 percent could not walk across a small room.

There are some common misconceptions about physical activity and older adults. For example, the myth that frail adults are unable to exercise, or it’s not wise or safe to start an exercise program, or that there are no benefits that the frail elderly can gain from fitness. While it is always important to consult a physician before starting a new exercise regiment, the truth is that debilitation can oftentimes be minimized with regular exercise.

Besides the obvious benefit of increasing muscular strength and endurance which deteriorate through inactivity, the Office of Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services note that fitness can effectively produce many physiological benefits, including improving circulation to reduce high blood pressure, improving joint flexibility and range of motion, and improving respiratory ability and efficiency.

Exercise can help to prevent falls and fractured hips in the elderly. This is especially significant because 50 percent of seniors who fracture a hip never walk independently again, and many die from complications. Exercise also can fight the effects of brittle bones from osteoporosis by strengthening bone mass. Additionally, resistance training can increase strength in the knees and ankles, which will also help to prevent falls.

Exercise encourages a healthy digestive system. Regular activity naturally increases a poor appetite, which is a common problem with inactive seniors. Healthier appetites lead to healthier eating habits. Healthier eating habits lead to alleviation of digestive and bowel function issues common among the elderly, which in turn helps with sleeping difficulties.

Susceptibility to illness greatly increases with age; thus, a particularly important benefit of exercise for the frail elderly is an increased ability to fight off illness. Stress can deplete a senior’s natural ability to ward off sickness; however, exercise improves the autonomic nervous system’s ability to tolerate stress. Exercise can also enhance the immune system with a significant increase in serum immunoglobulin.

In addition to its physiological benefits, there are also many psychological benefits of exercise for the elderly. Exercise helps the elderly maintain a sense of autonomy over their aging bodies. Instead of feeling like victims to the aging process, they can take control with a regular exercise program and make progressive steps towards improving their physical health. Exercise has also been shown to channel energies into healthy and productive activity, which helps to reduce anxiety and tension and fight depression, as well as alleviate frustration, loneliness and hopelessness. Furthermore, it produces an increased sense of independence, which helps to foster self-esteem.

There is also evidence that exercise produces an enhancement of cognitive abilities. Improving circulation increases the amount of oxygen brought to the brain, enhancing mental alertness. Studies have also shown that non-strenuous physical exercise can help the elderly improve memory retrieval and visual-motor performance.

To receive these numerous benefits of exercise for the frail elderly, it does not take a large time commitment. The initial frequency of an exercise routine can be as short as 6 minutes, repeated throughout the day. Documented benefits in frail elders have resulted from as little as 30 cumulative minutes of exercise a week! The real commitment comes with a mental pledge to “keep at it.” Creating a routine for specific exercise times each day helps foster a longer-term commitment to the exercises.

Incorporating moderate activity and exercise into daily routine can be a challenge for some frail older adults, but there are many available resources to help with this important part of care. An exceptional home care agency such as Aker Kasten Home Health Care provides caregivers who understand how to work gently with seniors to encourage activities that help regain strength. For more information about encouraging exercise and activity for the elderly in West Palm Beach or anywhere in Palm Beach County, please contact Aker Kasten Home Health Care.

Marching On

by: John Aker | March 27th, 2013

March is nearly over. Did it come in like a lion or a lamb for you? We have enjoyed windy weather, the ides of March, college basketball’s March Madness is in full swing, and now you may find yourself involved in a religious observation of Passover or Resurrection Sunday, then the month is concluded. But wait! There’s more! It’s not over just yet.

March is also National Nutrition Month and before the month marches on, we wanted to remind you of a few resources to encourage you to eat well–all year long–and present you with a fun challenge…

Marching On Resources and Reminders
Remaining independent at home is a top priority for many of us.  As a home health provider, we are here to help you do just that!  So, we strongly encourage you to march on. Marching on consists of taking control of that which is within your grasp–namely eating right and exercising–foundations for well-being.

Proper nutrition plays an large role in our well-being, more so if you have any chronic conditions. Our Community Resource Library has great cookbooks–some of which center on meal planning and preparation for those with Arthritis, Diabetes, Hearth Health issues, Pain or inflammatory concerns, Parkinsons’s and even those who require soft foods only. If these are of interest to you, call 561-955-6010 and ask about borrowing a book or having a staff nurse assist you in reviewing them.

Be sure to spend some time investigating the latest information, helpful tips, and great recipes at:

 www.eatright.org       www.choosemyplate.gov      www.nutrition411.com

Did you know that our caregivers can help you choose healthy options at the grocery store and assist you in preparing and eating nutritious meals and snacks? Make a game of it and try a new, healthy recipe together. When you are ready to march on toward something bigger than just nutrition, tackle our challenge below.

The Challenge
To make eating healthier fun and prove it makes a difference, write down all that you eat and drink over a 7 day period. Weigh yourself the first day and write it down. Then write down all the foods and drinks you consume for the next seven days then weigh yourself again. Review your dietary choices. You may be surprised to learn you are already eating good, nutritious meals and snacks. Or, you might find that a few small changes are in order–give yourself some new marching orders.

If you do need to make healthier food choices, begin doing so and log all your food again for another week. (Be sure to list your beverages too–you may be surprised how little water you drink. And many medications can have a dehydrating effect so drinking more water could pay dividends in how you feel.) Weigh yourself again at the end of that week.

The next step would be to march on. That is, add a little walking to your day–your in home caregiver can accompany you. (Be sure to ask your doctor what level of exercise is safe for you.) Even if you can’t walk, you could easily add some movement to your day in the comfort of your own home. Our Community Resource Library offers chair exercise videos so dare your spouse or caregiver to exercise with you–see who can keep a smile on their face through an exercise. Let the winner choose the day’s healthy snack. Keep marching on, you will quickly feel a sense of accomplishment. And in just a short time, exercise and proper nutrition will make a big difference in how you feel!

If you embark on this home health challenge, please let us know. We would love to help encourage and support your healthy changes and celebrate with you when you feel better. Eat well and enjoy the rest of March!

At the top right hand corner of this page, click on the Face Book, Twitter, or Google+ icons to join the conversation. We can’t wait to hear from you…

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

Don’t Take a Holiday from Exercise

by: John Aker | December 2nd, 2011

Courtesy of the Private Duty Home Duty Association

Exercise is an important part of life, particularly for senior clients. It’s a known mood and energy booster, great for the heart, and it helps control certain diseases and ailments, like diabetes. While most people are busy preparing for the approaching holiday, don’t take a holiday from maintaining fitness.

From candy to cake to rich stuffingAK_ServiceArea and gravies, it’s the season for indulgence. It’s also the season in which many people are prone to depression. Exercise can help combat holiday weight gain while generating mood-lifting endorphins that can keep clients from feeling the holiday blues. The following tips can ensure that clients stay active and fit during this busy time of year:

  • Encourage group fitness classes. When people exercise with others, they are more likely to feel encouraged and continue their fitness routine than when exercising alone. Find a list of group senior fitness classes in your area, and encourage clients to attend. Ask Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency about area classes that cater to seniors at hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or local community centers or gyms, and offer transportation services when needed. In group classes, such as simple water or step aerobics, clients can get in a good workout and socialize at the same time.
  • Follow trends for fitness and fun with video gaming systems. Many video gaming systems now offer games that focus on getting users moving. The Nintendo Wii and the Xbox Kinect are two systems that have become trendy tools in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country to help seniors stay mobile and increase coordination while having a little fun in the process. Maybe it’s time to invest in a game system and some exercise games, and challenge your caregiver to some fun and fitness. If you loved to bowl or play tennis in your prime, you can still enjoy the competition and movement of the online version without as much strain on your joints.
  • Enlist the family. With family and friends gathering together this time of year, create an exercise routine that the whole family can enjoy. From walking pets to competitive balancing exercises, ask your Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency caregiver to help you create a list of fun activities that all ages can participate in.

As always, check with your physician before implementing any new exercise routine.

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.