Elderly Parents Activities - 10 Exercises for Bone Strength
Many caregivers try to do as much as they can for their aging parents. Sometimes, this is not always a good thing.
The more you do for your elderly parents, the less likely they are to get the stimulation and exercise they need for health and well being.
This is not to say you shouldn't help your Mom get around or help your Dad get down the stairs, but it does mean to help keep your parent as active as possible in order to maintain range of movement, mobility and bone strength.
One of the best ways to maintain bone strength is to encourage your elderly parents to exercise daily. (As with this or any exercise see a qualified medical professional before starting or continuing an exercise program. Make certain your elderly parents can perform these movements by discussing with your doctor first). No, this doesn't necessarily mean a trip to the gym, but if they want to, by all means, take them! And as a caregiver it is important for you to join in...do you need a reason? Please see Sports and Fitness It means exercising in order to retain strength and elasticity in major and minor muscle groups, joints and bones. How do you exercise bones? Weight bearing exercises just may be the answer.
Weight bearing exercises help both men and women maintain independence and the ability to complete simple tasks like zipping zippers, opening jars and just plain getting around.
However, women are at a higher risk for bone fractures, especially if bones are weakened by a condition called osteoporosis, which decreases bone mass and strength.
Studies have shown that elderly parents may increase bone strength and mass through weight bearing exercises. Even mild to moderate exercise (two to three times a week) will help increase bone mass by about 4% within about two to three years. Increase the amount of exercise, and benefits will come faster.
For optimal bone strengthening benefits, individuals of most ages can perform weight bearing exercises in the home
Again, before starting any exercise regime, check with your doctor if you or your elderly parent suffers from any illnesses or conditions that may prevent you from enjoying the benefits of weight bearing exercise programs.
For additional information also see Senior Exercise Central to discover fitness and exercise information specifically for men and women age 50 and above.
Remember to stretch in order to warm up the muscles and get them prepared to work prior to any exercise session. Stretching also helps to avoid injury and increase mobility and range of motion.
Also remember, start slow and add more repetitions or weight as you feel yourself getting stronger. Are you ready? Here are 10 great weight-bearing exercises to keep your bones strong and healthy that you can complete using objects found around your house.
Stand with your feet slightly apart. If you need help with balance, place a chair beside you to hold on to. Then, kneel down on your right knee, then your left knee. Pause a moment, and then place your right foot in front of you and lift yourself up. Repeat the move again, only this time, place your left foot in front of you and lift yourself up. Remember to hang onto something for extra balance. Do this once or twice to start.
Sit in a chair, back straight and feet flat on the floor. Hold a book or other weighted object in your hands, palms facing each other. Lift the book directly in front of you to eye level, with your elbows bent and in at your sides. Pause with the book in front of your eyes, and then lift the book toward the ceiling until your arms are extended as far as possible above your head. Try this without any books or weight if you think you would feel more comfortable.
With light to moderate weights, stand with your hands to your sides, palms facing front. Feet should be about shoulder width apart. Make a fist with each hand and then, keeping elbows tucked into your sides, lift your fists toward your shoulders, using the resistance of your own muscles. Hold for a moment, and then lower. Repeat.
Holding onto a soup can or other light weight, sit in a chair, back straight, with one hand holding a weight drooping over one knee. Slowly straighten the hand (back of the hand is facing upward until it is even with your forearm. Don't lift the hand higher than the forearm. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Holding onto a soup can or other light weight, sit in a chair, back straight and the hand holding the weight drooping over one knee, palm facing upward. Slowly curl the hand upward, toward your chest. Pause, and then slowly lower. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Hold onto soup cans or light weights. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold your arms at your sides, hands fisted and elbows bent at a 90° angle. With your arms still bent, lift your arms outward to shoulder height, keeping fists slightly lower than the elbows on the way up. Fists shouldn't move, only the arms move. Hold for a moment, and then lower arms, keeping fists stable. Repeat 3-5 times to start.
Holding onto a chair for balance, stand with feet a little wider than shoulder distance apart and toes pointing outward at about a 45° angle. Slowly lower your body several inches pause and then lift the body. Keep the back straight and the abdominals pulled in. Do this 3-5 times to start.
For chair exercises for seniors, sit on the edge of a chair and stretch your legs out, slightly bent. Place a book or a weight on your ankles or balanced against your shins. Hanging onto the seat of the chair, slightly lift your legs, toes pointing upward and hold for a few seconds, then lower. Repeat 3-5 times.
Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Place a weight or use your hands to press down on your knees. Slowly lift your ankles, and then lower. Repeat 3-5 times, to make your calves work, as well as your ankle joint.
Walking is one of the best weight bearing exercises that you can do! It doesn't require any equipment, it's free, and it works all the muscles and bones in your body. It's a great aerobic exercise too, which is an added plus.
To maintain strength, mobility, flexibility and range of motion, encourage your elderly parents to engage in weight bearing exercises at least two or three times a week. Group exercise is a great way to socialize and work out at the same time, so try to find senior groups at your local community center, gym or senior center.