It is important that physical and occupational therapists encourage their senior clients to stay active as much as they can. For starters, getting seniors to stay active helps them lead safe, productive, and high-quality lives. Secondly, seniors who lead active lives are better suited to manage the daily challenges of age and fall risks because their range of motion, cognitive skills, and emotional health are greatly improved. When physical and occupational therapists can get their senior clients to stay active, they help increase the seniors’ independence and can eliminate some of the challenges of being dependent on others.
That said, here are the top 5 ways for seniors to stay active:
Walking is an excellent and widely accessible exercise for maintaining mental and physical health. If your senior client is a dog lover, you can encourage them to stay active by walking dogs. Some clients may be great candidates for getting a dog as a pet, or you can encourage them to help other people walk their dogs if that’s not an option.
Staying active through walking is a great way for seniors to get daily exercise. Combining exercise with a fun companion can help maintain motivation and help provide a sense of purpose.
Walking keeps the joints active, so folks with arthritis will benefit greatly from regular walks. If your client is not able to walk with a dog, outdoor walks solo still provide opportunities for fresh air, sunshine, peace, and quiet when the weather is great. You can encourage your clients to walk inside their local malls on inclement days. The best way to make these walks interesting is to mix things up. They could change routes and alternate between taking those long nature walks and strolling through malls.
2. Playing Video Games
Nowadays, there are video games that incorporate a physical component and simulate real-world activities. These types of video games are great for encouraging seniors to stay active. For example, you could get them to try video games that simulate tossing Frisbees, bowling, golfing, or even boxing.
Video games are a great way to encourage seniors to stay active, even if they prefer to stay home. Additionally, video games are easy to partake in on a senior’s own time without worrying about gym operating hours or safety outdoors.
These types of games can also provide some social interaction with others. Encourage your seniors to invite their friends or family over to enjoy quality time together while promoting movement.
Dancing is a pleasurable activity that doubles as physical exercise. Dancing requires you to use your muscles to engage your core, upper, and lower body. This helps improve stability, flexibility, and balance in the process. There are many styles of dance that your senior clients can participate in. Help them to narrow down a style that interests them – from ballroom to hip hop, there is plenty to choose from!
Encourage your senior clients to join dance classes for seniors as these classes are set up to get them moving without stressing their joints and muscles. In addition to physical exercise, they get to make new friends too.
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Yoga is another great way to get seniors to stay active. It enhances stability, flexibility, and strength while keeping the mind calm. Yoga is great for seniors because it can reduce pain from arthritis in addition to facilitating breath and circulation. Seniors with limited mobility can also benefit from yoga as there are chair yoga exercises specifically designed for people who cannot stand for long periods.
5. Pool Exercises
It is important seniors regularly do activities that increase their heart rate, and swimming and water aerobics are fun activities that help seniors stay active while minimizing pressure on the joints. Additionally, the buoyancy of the water makes the pull of gravity less strong, so your senior clients will feel lighter and move easier doing this type of activity.
Water aerobics gently tasks the entire body and mildly increases the heart rate. This can help prevent heart problems and work on the muscles of the senior for improved tone and strength without putting excessive pressure on their joints.
Bonus! Fusion Home Exercise Program
There are many ways seniors can stay active to maintain and build strength and mobility. The good news is that physical and occupational therapists can help their senior clients stick to a mobility plan thanks to the Fusion Home Exercise Program (HEP). This program is structured to simplify the management of HEP so your clients can keep improving—even after they’ve left the clinic. You can assign exercises and view them directly in the client portal, eliminating the need to make copies of handouts that could get lost. With this program, you can help make sure your clients feel confident about their activity plan.
Any of these options for encouraging seniors to stay active will greatly enhance their overall well-being and help them lead better quality lives. But you needn’t go it all alone, as Fusion can streamline your work so you can spend more time with patients and optimize and grow your practice. Get a free demo of Fusion today!