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Honoring National Senior Health and Fitness Day for Active Aging

By putting these five tips into practice, seniors can set themselves up for a healthier, stronger lifestyle.

May 29 is National Senior Health and Fitness Day, an annual observance that focuses on improving the health of seniors and promoting fitness among them. In honor of this day, many nationwide organizations will be arranging events to raise awareness about eldercare and offer opportunities for seniors to engage in physical activities. 

With a mission rooted in compassion and a commitment to enhancing the lives of older adults, Griswold, one of the country’s top home care companies, stands as a pillar of support for seniors and their families across the country. The brand’s dedication to personalized care and their “Live Assured” promise aligns perfectly with the goals of National Senior Health and Fitness Day, empowering seniors to thrive in mind, body and spirit.

To empower seniors on their wellness journeys, here are five tips for those looking to incorporate regular health and fitness habits into their daily routines. 

Make Exercise Enjoyable

One of the best ways to make fitness a regular part of your routine is by finding a way to make it interesting and fun. The National Institute of Aging (NIA) recommends that seniors get creative and do activities that they enjoy, but at a faster pace.

The NIA also suggests incorporating variety into a workout regime by switching between endurance, strength, balance and flexibility exercises. Endurance exercises for seniors might include low-impact activities like walking or water aerobics, which are easier on the joints. 

Strength training can be adapted using resistance bands or light weights to accommodate reduced grip strength. Balance exercises might involve simple activities like standing on one foot while holding onto a stable surface and flexibility exercises could focus on gentle stretching routines. It's also important to ensure that these activities are done in a safe manner, such as exercising with a partner or using supportive equipment, to prevent falls or injuries. 

Find Creative Ways To Fit Exercise Into Your Schedule

Planning to exercise during a convenient part of the day ups your chances of getting it done. First thing in the morning is a great choice for many people. The NIA also suggests incorporating physical activity into daily routines in ways that are more suitable for seniors. For example, first thing in the morning, seniors can do some gentle stretches while still in bed, such as lifting their arms overhead or gently bending their knees to their chest. While sitting on the side of the bed, they can perform simple leg lifts or ankle rotations to get their blood flowing. 

Throughout the day, seniors might engage in light activities like standing up and sitting down from a chair multiple times to strengthen leg muscles or doing seated stretches while watching television. By adding these manageable exercises into their daily routines, you can maintain physical activity levels in a safe and effective manner.

Find an Exercise Buddy

Having a friend, family member or caregiver to exercise with can keep you accountable and motivated. Many individuals find that having an "exercise buddy" makes workouts more enjoyable while maintaining commitment to their fitness journey. For instance, during family gatherings, the whole family can participate in gentle exercises that accommodate everyone's abilities, from grandma to her grandkids. Caregivers can also serve as invaluable workout partners, providing safe and sensible exercise options tailored to the individual's needs while participating alongside them. This not only promotes physical activity but also strengthens bonds and support networks within the family or caregiver relationship.

Start Slow

For seniors who have not been regularly active in some time, it’s important to consult with a primary care physician to address any concerns or questions prior to starting a new regimen. 

It's also better to start off slow and build little by little. Instead of doing your entire workout in one sitting, try using 10-minute increments twice a day, or try adding activity into your schedule a few times a week. A slower start will help prevent the injuries that often come from overexertion. As you progress, you can add more 10-minute sessions to gradually increase your fitness level. 

Complement Activity With the Right Diet notes that the right diet is important to support the benefits of exercising. Adding in more sources of protein can help seniors maintain energy levels, promote recovery and support lean muscle mass.  Some changes that can contribute to a healthier overall diet include diversifying protein sources by incorporating fish, poultry, beans and eggs, instead of relying solely on red meat; replacing processed carbohydrates like pastries with high-quality protein; and snacking on healthier options like nuts and seeds.

As we honor this special day, Griswold aims to empower seniors to embrace a lifestyle of health and fitness. Through practical tips and guidance, we can help seniors incorporate regular exercise and wellness habits into their daily routines, fostering a culture of active aging and well-being.

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