After a fall, many elderly men and women become fearful of activity. If someone isn’t there, they’re not likely to go for a walk or do whatever activity led to the initial fall. One of the best ways to prevent a fall is by building muscle strength and improving balance and stamina. Here are some of the best ways to get a fearful senior to exercise.
Start with chair exercises. A senior has a chair to hold or sit in while working on strengthening muscle. From a seated position, legs can be extended, raised toward the ceiling, held for a count of five, and slowly lowered. Repeat that exercise to a count of 10, 20, or higher as muscle tone increases. Switch legs and repeat. Do this exercise daily.
You can also build arm strength using the same method. Raise the arms and hands to the ceiling and slowly lower them. As time goes on and muscle strength increases, you can add weights for resistance.
Some senior centers have chair yoga classes. If your mom or dad has a ride to a local senior center, these programs provide both exercise and socialization.
Yoga and Tai Chi.
Yoga and Tai Chi are easily targeted to beginners, which makes them ideal for seniors who need to build muscle. Both involve poses that stretch the muscles. Plus, they work on meditation and breathing exercises that help ease stress and tension. You’ll find classes in many fitness facilities, senior centers, and hospital settings.
Take your mom or dad to the Y or a community pool for muscle strengthening. Water makes you buoyant, which eases stress on the joints. Some pools hold Zumba and water aerobics classes so that your mom or dad get a workout in the water. If that’s not an option, swimming is still a great exercise.
Floor Based Exercises.
If your mom or dad is worried about falling while exercising, there are floor exercise programs. You need to invest in a decent mat for them to lay on while working out. They can’t fall down when they’re already on the floor, so their fears are assuaged. They’ll be able to work out arms and legs.
Make sure someone is around to help them back up later. If that’s not possible, they could work out next to a sofa and use it as a brace while standing back up.
Do You Need Help Keeping Your Mom or Dad On Track?
Look into having caregivers spend time each day with your parent. With a caregiver on hand to help with exercises and walks, it can help ease the fear.