It’s fun and fitness month at Midnight Sun Home Care! June, in Alaska, just makes us want to get out and get active. To celebrate, we’re talking about how seniors and their families can do this in a safe, informed and enjoyable way. And, we’re helping you do that too, by launching our Senior Fitness Program: Older, Wiser, Fitter, Faster, in partnership with AlaskaFit, and by hosting the Midnight Sun Charity Golf Classic.
It goes without saying that regular exercise greatly benefits people of all ages. So, naturally, one might think that exercising as a family will benefit the family as a whole. That’s true. But, often when we hear or read about family exercise, it focuses on children and parents. What about grandparents, elderly aunts and uncles or other elderly loved ones?
We’ve already talked about a few inspiringly fit seniors. The trend of fit seniors is only growing and it’s important that we make a shift in our thinking: our senior loved ones can do a lot and they want to! They also know a lot and you might be surprised by what you can learn from them, especially when you engage in fitness activities together.
Here are a few benefits of exercising with your elderly family members:
- You help reduce and prevent pain. A sedentary or inactive lifestyle is a determined cause of many ailments, especially back-related issues that are often very painful. When you encourage your elderly loved one to get active with you, you are actively helping them avoid and prevent pain. This contributes to a longer, happier life and more enjoyable time with each other.
- You get quality time with each other. This is an opportunity to socialize, connect and talk. It opens the door to important conversations that can help you better support your loved one, and again, enjoy each other’s company.
- It’s a natural antidepressant. You probably know that exercise releases endorphins into your body. Endorphins are your own personal happy supply. They give you a pleasant feeling and are known to help reduce depression. Face it, elderly people can be very vulnerable to depression because of many reasons, not the least being a fear of losing their independence, friend’s and loved ones passing on, changes that affect their sense of control, etc. When you exercise together, you are helping to decrease the likelihood of depression—for all of you!
- You all sleep better. As people age, their sleep cycles change and shift. Some folks end up needing less sleep, while others can’t get to sleep and still others sleep much more lightly. Meanwhile, as your loved ones age, you might experience sleep struggles because you worry about them, or are stressed by the circumstances of providing them care. Exercise is a known sleep aid. Getting out together and getting fit will give you a better chance of getting the sleep you all need.
- Role models of all ages are important. If you’re trying to teach your child healthy habits, it helps if the central people in their lives are sending one cohesive message. It’s also nice to give them a variety of examples to follow. If they are seeing their elderly loved ones getting out, they will remember them as active, capable people and will be inspired to make fitness a lifelong practice. They will also learn a lot about how to understand other people’s needs, limitations and strengths, with a positive, non-judgmental approach. It doesn’t just make them stronger; it makes them better.
- Strength = Enduring Independence. We all want our independence for as long as possible. And we want that for each other. Exercising together helps to build strength and strength is what helps people remain independent in their homes for longer. It also helps to prevent falls. This is one of the best ways to ensure the safety and independence of your elderly loved ones.
These are just a few reasons why family fitness should include seniors. If you’re wondering how to start, make sure you talk with your elder’s doctors and consult fitness professionals. And, check out the Senior Fitness Program!