It can be a tricky balancing act for those with arthritis to get sufficient exercise to remain healthy, and to avoid overdoing it and causing harm or pain. To help seniors find that perfect balance, Nightingale Homecare offers the following tips; however, keep in mind that it’s crucial to first check with the physician to get his/her approval before beginning any exercise program:
- Always start with a warm-up. Those with arthritis should allow at least 10 – 15 minutes of pre-exercise stretching activities. Good activities to begin with include walking, marching, and exercises to stretch range of motion.
- Incorporate variety. Include exercises to enhance flexibility and resistance, to improve strength, and to give the heart a workout through aerobic activity. Recommendations for each type of exercise can be customized to each person’s specific needs, but can include:
- Flexibility: Yoga, tai chi, or Pilates (modified as needed)
- Strength/resistance: Resistance bands and weight training
- Aerobics: Low-impact aerobic exercises are preferred for those with arthritis; try riding a stationary bike, walking, swimming, or water aerobics
- End with a cool-down. The warm-up process mentioned above should be repeated at the end of any exercise program as a way to cool down, stretch and relax muscles.
It’s a good idea to have designated times each day set aside for exercise programs, but it’s equally important to ensure that, even when it’s not officially “exercise time,” movement is incorporated throughout the day’s activities. A sedentary lifestyle can increase stiffness and pain in muscles. A good rule of thumb is 1 – 2 active minutes for every 30 minutes of sitting. And even while sitting, add in some gentle flexing/stretching movements, such as raising your arms up over your head and holding in that position briefly, and then stretching out your legs and flexing your feet.
Finally, maintaining a healthy diet, drinking sufficient amounts of water, and getting plenty of sleep will all have an impact on overall health and wellbeing. Older adults should strive for at least 7 – 8 hours of restful sleep each night. If sleeping through the night is a struggle, try creating a more sleep-friendly environment by keeping the room dark and cool, and avoiding computers and TV before bedtime.
For more assistance in helping seniors with arthritis to improve quality of life, contact the aging care professionals at Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix. We offer customized senior care that can include anything from companionship and a little help around the house, to skilled medical care, speech, occupational, and physical therapy, and much more, provided in the comfort of home. Call us at 602-504-1555 to learn more.