Exercise for seniors is very beneficial. It slows aging, aids in healing and strengthens against frailty.
Many exercises can be found for seniors that don’t require that much help in performing them.
Simple exercises for those in elderly care include chair exercises, stretching exercises, breathing exercises and balance and ball exercises.
Those with greater independent mobility and stability can try yoga, aerobics, strength and dumbbell exercises, swimming and pool exercises.
I can think of about 24 benefits of exercise for seniors. A few that I feel are quite important would be how it increases oxygen to the brain, decreases blood pressures, strengthens the heart, improves sleep patterns, increases lung capacity, can reduce stress and depression levels and can strengthen the immune system.
Relaxation activities are also important for everyone’s health. Our minds and bodies tense with use and from influences outside ourselves, even in our minds and emotions. They cause us to be stressed and un-relaxed. We couldn’t function if we were always relaxed. It isn’t normal for the body or mind, but relaxation is necessary sometimes and for some people, even seniors in care, it can be difficult.
Some techniques for seniors to try to relax could be listening to music, watching a movie, being with others (not isolating themselves), listening to someone read a story or going for a stroll.
Benefits of the above activities include normal heart rate, normal breathing, stimulated healing, and help with mood swings.
All these conditions lend themselves to healing of the body and mind.
Group activities can be great tools too. Activities as a group help to release tensions. Meeting new people helps get you comfortable in group settings as you can begin new activities together.
Lastly, everyone can benefit from music activity in some capacity. It has been found to be especially helpful to the elderly and seniors in geriatric care, palliative care and with Alzheimer’s and dementia clients.
Just a pleasant variety of music to play in the background can also be very helpful and aide in relaxation, peace and tranquility. Relaxation music would be harps, guitar or piano music.
Sometimes ethnic music can help those from forgotten homelands such as the Irish, Scottish and Celtic for examples. Music activities for the elderly have helped many residents deal with the above conditions, but also help with grief and healing from surgeries. They improve overall health as well.
At St. Catherine’s, we offer many of the above techniques. We hold our daily “Exercise of the Mind and Body” before lunch at 11 a.m. We also throw in some trivia questions to get our brain a-thinkin’!
We welcome family and friends to come and join us weekdays in our exercise time. Remember, it’s more fun to “exercise” with others!
Pam Meyer is the Wellness Director at St. Catherine’s Living Center, Wahpeton