It’s a new year!
For many people, the New Year brings new resolutions. By far the most common resolutions every year have to do with physical fitness. Unfortunately, fitness resolutions are also the most commonly broken as well.
Being active can be hard. You know it’s good for your blood pressure, heart health, respiratory system, and even your brain’s health. But you also know that your couch is comfortable after a long day, the dishes don’t wash themselves, and the errands don’t get run without you.
The challenge to stay active doesn’t go away with age. In fact, it gets harder. For our elderly loved ones there isn’t just motivations and time management to contend with – there’s also growing physical barriers. Reduced range of motion, aches, pains, and arthritis are just the tip of the iceberg. Lifting free weights is challenging enough on your muscles – imagine how hard it would be if your hands couldn’t grip it. Unfortunately, being faced with all of these challenges can instill some psychological barriers as well.
If someone you love has made a resolution to be more fit and healthy, but they’re facing some age-related psychological challenges, we have a few ideas to help you help them. For exercises we highly recommend a personal trainer that specializes in older clients.
- Focus on what you can control. If a senior is focusing on the fact that they’re old as a barrier, they’re setting themselves up for defeat. They can’t control their age. Instead, focus on things they can change. There’s no such thing as “too old” to start. Start small if you have to. Getting to a gym is a huge win. Participating in a class is progress, it doesn’t matter if a break is needed every five minutes – being there is a great start. Make a friend at the gym. Ask questions about how to use equipment. It may not seem like much, but it’s all more than was accomplished on the couch.
- Get Creative. There are a million excuses that can be used to justify not exercising. But there are two million ways to overcome those obstacles. If weights are too heavy, start with a bottle of water. If walking around the block is too far, just walk to the end of the street. Little victories are within their power to achieve and will go a long way towards pushing them to larger goals. In no time that water bottle will feel light! Exercising you brain to figure out a way around a trouble spot is a work out of its own!
- Stand out. Don’t let your aging loved one compare themselves to anyone else. Watching younger or more experienced people in the gym can be daunting. Nobody is the same as anyone else and everyone is at their own fitness level. There’s no shame in modifying an exercise to make it comfortable. Push-ups are hard, and for many seniors doing a push-up on arthritic or sore knees isn’t an option, so do a wall push-up instead. Modifications help to build up muscle while preventing injuries from strained muscles.