3 ways to create more movement in your older loved one’s day
Active wear, lace up sneakers, loud music, sweat, coordination… yeah that’s all part of exercise. And for many individuals exercise is exciting, but for many others it creates feelings of anxiety, recoil and the desire to actually put the sneakers on but run the other way. So whilst we know how good exercise is for us and our health and wellbeing, let’s anatomise exercise a little more and think of it’s fundamentals, one being, movement.
When we think about movement, it’s more about changing the position of your body in a way that feels comfortable, that feels native, that aligns with your capabilities, that is happily achievable and promotes health and wellbeing.
For our older loved ones, being told to participate in exercise ‘to be healthier’ can absolutely feel out of reach. Suggestions like “attend a zumba class”, or “do 10 rounds with a punching bag” might not be everyone's cup of tea or within their capabilities and so exercise becomes unachievable and all the benefits of exercise slip away.
So let’s wipe the sweat from our eyes and consider other ways that keep our older loved ones both happy and moving. There are many creative ways of engaging in movement that safely and happily lead to the benefits of maintaining and building strength and muscle mass but importantly, elevate health and wellbeing.
Here are three things that you can start right now to help your older loved one move in a way that is comfortable and achievable and will spark a bit of happiness along the way…
1. Move some things around. If there is an item in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom that is used often, move it to a spot that is harder to reach, promoting stretching, flexibility and encouraging movement. This creates movement without the structured didactic way of telling someone to stretch, making our older loved one stronger and having a sense of accomplishment when they grab that harder to reach favourite coffee mug. This is particularly helpful for our loved one’s who live in apartments.
TIP: Please thoughtfully consider cognitive and physical capacity with this activity, you’ll know the level of appropriateness.
2. Send more mail. Ask friends, family, grandchildren or kids in your older loved one’s street to send postcards, letters, cards or hand drawn pictures to your loved one’s mailbox. Especially if your loved one lives in an apartment, this encourages them to move from their home, to outside, to the letterbox and back. There will be a variety of physical navigations along the way to increase strength and perhaps a chance to socialise (to improve wellbeing). The process of receiving and opening mail fosters excitement, anticipation and in turn happiness.
3. Fill the house with indoor plants. We know the benefits of having nature in our space; purifying the air and creating happiness. And having multiple indoor plants creates the need to move around the house to look at them, look after them and water them. Not only does this create incidental movement around the house, it creates feelings of happiness and nurturing in a safe, familiar space. This is particularly helpful for our loved one’s who live in apartments.
So I want to differentiate movement from exercise for our older loved ones. How beneficial moving in a way that is comfortable, incidental and achievable creates happiness and elevates wellbeing. These couple of ideas above form part of a wider range of movement ideas I have for our older loved ones. I’ll be sharing more with you soon.
If you feel like you would like to chat to me further about elevating your older loved one’s nutrition and wellbeing, I’m available for one on one consultations. Got to My Bookings page on the button below.