Leading a healthy lifestyle and staying active is important for all ages. This is especially true for elderly people concerned about remaining independent. The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine created physical exercise guidelines to help the elderly exercise safely. Here’s some recommendations for a safe healthy routine from the guidelines, but be sure to always consult your physician before undertaking an exercise program.
When engaging in moderate exercise, aim for 30 to 60 minutes per-day. Split your workout into 10-minute blocks if you prefer shorter sessions. In total, an elderly person should exercise at least 5 days a week for at least 150 minutes per week.
Moderate activity may cause a noticeable increase in your heart rate and breathing but you should have the ability to hold a conversation. Moderate activity may also cause you to break a sweat.
Suggested Physical Exercise
Walking, biking, swimming, light jogging, dancing, and using a treadmill are great endurance activities. Consider aquatic exercises if you have knee or hip problems. Again, ask your physician which is best for you. Your Help at Home caregiver can help keep you active as well, with transportation to a pool, going for walks, or encouraging simple exercise while at home.
At least two days a week of strength training helps maintain bone density and prevent muscle loss. Dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls. and kettlebells can be purchased for home use. A strength training guide or personal trainer can provide details on specific exercises.
You may have limitations that hinder your ability to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle. But senior health is important, so do what you can. If you need help getting started, speak with your healthcare provider or a personal trainer to see what exercises are safe for you.
Healthy eating is often easier than exercising in your senior years. Many seniors need less calories to maintain their weight, and seniors may find that it’s difficult to focus on exercise because of muscle or joint problems. Therefore, it’s important to focus on nutritional needs as you age. Seniors can have different dietary needs, which vary from person to person, but there are some strategies that can make sure you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle and choosing healthy foods. Help at Home caregivers who provide at-home care for the elderly are able to help prepare meals for our clients, but if you choose to prepare meals yourself, keep these guidelines in mind.
Switch to a Nutrient Rich Diet
Caloric needs will possibly decrease with age, so it’s best to focus on nutrient rich foods to get the minerals and vitamins that are needed. Some of these foods include vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean protein, nuts and seeds, and beans and lentils. Foods that have high calorie content but are low in nutrients should be avoided. An occasional treat is fine, but junk food should also be avoided.
Eat Enough Fiber
To have a healthy digestive system and good senior health, it’s necessary to eat fiber. This helps prevent constipation and other digestive problems. Foods that contain a lot of fiber include fruits and vegetables, oat bran, and whole grains. Doctors may recommend a supplement if seniors are struggling to get enough fiber in the diet.
Choose Healthy Convenience
When living a healthy lifestyle, and even with home health care, it can still be difficult to always prep food. If you are choosing convenience foods, be sure to get those that are healthy for you. For example, choose low sodium canned vegetables, rotisserie chicken, low sodium canned soups, or steamer bags of vegetables. When looking at prepackaged foods, check the labels and choose options that don’t have any unnecessary sugars, salt, and saturated fat.
Food is important, but it’s also important to keep drinking fluids for good senior health. You should aim for 64 ounces of water a day, and you can also get water from fruits and vegetables that have high water content.
Be sure to talk with your physician about healthy eating as well, and in particular if there are any dietary restrictions related to medications that you take.