No matter the age, anyone can experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Senior citizens are prone to experiencing certain conditions, like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. To reduce the risk of these conditions, it is important that senior citizens exercise and eat a healthy diet. Those involved in the elder care of senior citizens should encourage and try to facilitate these healthy practices.
Some research findings on the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition in senior citizens are listed below:
Healthy aging is enhanced by both exercise and good nutrition. A healthy diet can reduce risk of diabetes in senior citizens that are at a high risk. Studies have shown that dedication to a lifestyle of exercise and nutrition has led to a 71 percent decrease in diabetes amongst senior citizens 60 years and older.
A different study of older women who were taking care of a family member suffering from dementia, found the women who exercised to have less sleep problems and decreased stress levels.
Better sleep conditions, such as falling asleep quickly, and sleeping longer has been found senior citizens who engage in moderate exercise.
Exercise has also been found to improve balance in senior citizens and reduce their risk of falling.
People with osteoarthritis have been found to experience less pain when they participate in strength building and walking.
Exercise and Physical Activity
For senior citizens specifically, exercise has been proven to lower the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, color cancer, and breast cancer and it has also helped lower the risks of falls.
If you are involved in the elder care of a senior citizen, it is important to motivate and encourage exercise. They may already feel that they should start to exercise in order to feel better, and you can reinforce this notion by telling them the benefits of exercise. Talking with senior citizens about their exercise habits and daily activities may also help motivate them.
Below is a list of ways to motivate senior citizens to exercise:
Help the senior citizen develop attainable goals with an exercise plan
Share with the senior citizen that physical activity on a regular basis helps facilitate healthy aging. This includes endurance, muscle strengthening, flexibility, and balancing exercises.
If they are worried about beginning an exercise routine, encourage them to talk with their doctor about the type, frequency, intensity, and amount of exercise they should be doing.
Help get them involved in community activities such as exercise classes at senior citizen centers or mall-walking groups.
Inform them about Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging a free book that shows senior citizens how to begin and keep up an exercise routine.
The need for certain vitamins and minerals increases after age 50, so it is important to be sure senior citizens are getting the nutrition their body needs. A senior citizen may not be getting the nutrition they need due to poor eating habits. They may have a decreased sense of smell and taste due to teeth problems. Also, they may find it challenging to get to a grocery store, or it may be too difficult for them to stand for long-enough to cook a meal.
Below are some strategies to help senior citizens discover helpful ways to get the nutrition they need:
Express the importance of good nutrition and the positive effects it has on the body and their well-being.
If necessary, liquid nutrition supplements are helpful, but also explain the positive effects of solid food.
Multivitamins that are 100 percent of the needed daily value are good suggestions, but avoid megadoses.
Meal services, such as Meals on Wheels, can also be an option as a nutrition program. There may also be local area agencies that provide meals as well.