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Blog Feature

By: Elizabeth Bemis on January 14th, 2013

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10 Things to Know About Senior Physical Activity

assisted living | senior living | Healthcare For Senior Adults | Health Tips for Senior Citizens | healthy aging | tips for seniors | Aging & Caregiving

Senior Physical Activity

Physical activity consists of keeping your body healthy and active to prevent possible illnesses and disease that may result from a lack of daily exercise. As one ages it may seem more difficult to engage in physical activity, but there are many ways to modify movements to accommodate limitation and simple tasks such as walking more can drastically improve one’s physical health and well-being.

The following 10 helpful tips for senior physical activity were outlined in a pamphlet from Sanofi, which is a global, diversified healthcare leader that discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs, with one of their specific focuses on Diabetes. 

This particular information about senior physical activity is important for seniors to remember as they age. Although it is emphasizes diabetic concerns and how to stay healthy to potentially avoid developing this disease, the tips are generally applicable. We at United Methodist Homes promote a healthy living initiative in all of our independent and assisted living communities. We hope the following information is useful to you or your aging loved ones and help you to start or continue practicing a healthy lifestyle.

1. Why it’s good to get moving

Regular physical activity can help you burn calories and sugars and potentially lose weight if necessary. Lowering your blood sugar may make you less likely to develop complications from diabetes later in life.

2. Lower your blood sugar levels

Sugar is stored in your muscles. Exercising makes your muscles work harder, and as they do so they use up the sugar that is stored there. When sugar stored in your muscles runs low, it is “pulled” from the blood to be used as energy.

3. Help your body use insulin more efficiently

Muscles and other tissues use insulin more easily when you exercise. With physical activity, less insulin is needed to move sugar out of the blood and into muscle cells to create energy.

4. Improve your overall health

Regular physical activity has been shown to help protect against heart disease and stroke. It’s also a great way to reduce stress, help manage your weight and improve brain fitness.

5. Be smart and play it safe

Always consult with your health care team before creating a new exercise program. Let your doctor or other team members know if you’re planning to start, stop or increase physical activity. Make sure you don’t overdo it. If you do not feel well, stop immediately. It is also important to drink lots of fluids when exercising. Pick exercises that you enjoy; there is no better motivation than enjoying your workout.

6. You’ve already got what it takes

Every little bit of physical activity goes a long way to improve your health. Everyday ways to make exercise easier include:  carry your own groceries and packages, go outside to get the mail every day, walk with light dumbbells around the house, don’t sit for too long – stand up and move, and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

7. Walk whenever you can

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get in shape and is simple to do throughout the day. You can go for a walk with a friend or your dog, do errands on foot instead of driving, walk to the water cooler instead of keeping water at your desk, buy movie tickets early and walk until show time or wear a pedometer to track your steps and set a goal for how far you want to go.

8. Put together a plan

Before starting any exercise program work with your healthcare provider and get a check up to: make any necessary changes in diet, determine your current fitness level, set realistic goals for the future, monitor blood sugar levels, and manage medication.

9. Watch your blood sugar levels

Sometimes physical activity can make your blood sugar drop below 70 mg/dl. This is why you should test your blood sugar level before you exercise and then again several hours later. By doing this regularly, you’ll be able to see how much exercise lowers your blood sugar. Consult your health care team if you blood sugar levels get too low and make sure you carry something high in glucose like hard candy with you just in case.

10. Keep track of your progress

A simple way to stay motivated is to keep track of your daily activities. You may be surprised how a little bit of progress can increase your motivation. Just remember to start out slow and have fun!

Get Started!

The ideal exercise plan should include three types of activities:

Flexibility exercises which includes simple stretching;

Cardio, which includes anything that gets your heart going; walking, biking, dancing, or swimming are all simple ways to do cardio everyday. Just remember to start slowly.

Strength training, whether you lift light weights or use elastic bands you’ll find strength training boosts your energy and help you burn more calories.

By focusing on these important helpful hints seniors can easily continue doing simple every day routine exercises that have major overall health benefits. 

To learn more about United Methodist Homes and our healthy living initiative please visit our website here!

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.