Thursday, September 21, 2017
You've Gotta Pay Attention to YOUR Health When Caregiving
Someone once asked President Harry Truman’s secret for his high energy level. He supposedly said, “You should take your dog for a walk every day...even if you don’t have a dog.”
Walking is, hands down, the best basic exercise. In fact, new research is showing that walking may reduce anxiety in some older women. You can speed up or slow down and walk hills to increase intensity. By carrying a small dumbbell or can of food in each hand and curling them as you walk you improve muscle tone in your arms; hold them over your head and you get a shoulder workout.
Here are a few simple suggestions to make fitness fun; and remember, there are no age boundaries on fun:
Look for fitness friends. Find a walking buddy, or someone to work out with. Check on exercise and dance classes. Look for organized groups that move (birding, walking historical tours, hiking groups).
Hang out with kids. If you have grandchildren you know that playing with them can be a workout. Remember, any movement within your limits is good. Encourage them to come outside with you and move around. If they are addicted to video games check out the Wii Sports games you watch on a TV or computer screen and actively move to. If they want to go Old School, check out DDR (Dance Dance Revolution).
Take a lesson. What type of activity would you like to participate in, but don’t know how? Try golf, tennis, rowing; or the new court game, Pickle Ball!
Head to the gym. Even if you need someone to care for your caree while you’re gone the strength training you gain is worth it. Find a knowledgeable, patient instructor and use light weight to start. Even slight strength gains will double your confidence level.
Look for a swimming hole. Whether a “Ceement Pond” (pool to the Beverly Hillbillies), lake, river, or ocean, water is incredibly therapeutic. Don’t worry about swimming the English Channel, simply get in the water and moooove. In fact, for my money, moving in water is at least as good as walking with less impact on joints.
Think about it this way: Fitness After 50 is about fun. You’ve already done the guy with the whistle wearing the stretchy pants and baseball cap. You want to be as fit as you need to be to live the life you want and need to live. If you are a caregiver you have mental, emotional, and physical challenges other 50+ folks may not have and those issues require a different level of fitness.
Be sure to start slow, find movement (forget the word exercise) you like, look for easy ways to increase your strength and endurance, and relax.
Finally, check with your physician before starting any sort of exercise program. If they start to give you The Fitness Lecture simply tell’em, “Hey, chill out, I’m just going out to have a little fun.”