4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise
By and large, most Americans prefer to avoid exercise. As we grow older, exercise becomes more difficult, and we come up with more and more excuses to avoid it. Unfortunately, that can have grave consequences for seniors: lack of physical activity harms the elderly more than any other age group. 4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise
Despite that fact, few American seniors meet the CDC’s physical activity guidelines for older adults. The CDC’s guidelines for healthy seniors include 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, and muscle-strengthening exercise two or more days each week.
While those might seem like ambitious exercise goals, the average American senior barely gets a fraction of that much exercise. Most seniors are sedentary for more than eight hours every day, and upwards of 25% get no physical activity whatsoever.
That makes encouraging exercise an important part of being a senior caregiver. As a family caregiver, you should expect some resistance if you try to encourage your mom, dad, or grandparent to exercise. Seniors can provide you with all sorts of reasons why they shouldn’t exercise or don’t need physical activity. Here are four of the most common reasons seniors give to avoid exercise, along with what you can say in response to convince them otherwise.
Note: Senior exercise can come with major risks unless it’s medically directed. To avoid risk of strain or serious injury, always consult with your loved one’s physician before having them start a new exercise program. 4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise
Excuse #1: “The Recommendations are Unrealistic for Me”
Many seniors will argue that they will never meet healthy exercise guidelines. They don’t have the time, the energy, or physical fitness to meet the guidelines now, and there’s no way they will five years from now either. So why even bother?
Even if they won’t be able to meet the CDC’s guidelines, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be exercising. Every bit of physical exercise counts, as plenty of medical research demonstrated. Going from 0 to 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day will have a huge impact on your loved one’s physical and mental well-being, even if they never get close to the CDC guidelines.
Excuse #2: “My Chronic Condition Prevents Exercise”
Many seniors who suffer from chronic conditions — like heart disease, COPD, or diabetes — will claim their condition puts them at far too high a risk for physical exercise. Some seniors will even be happy to list all of the types of exercise their doctor has told them to avoid.
What they probably won’t tell you is the types of exercise their doctor recommended as alternatives. While severe conditions can prevent physical activity, exercise plays a crucial role in managing conditions like heart disease, COPD, and diabetes. The key is to speak with your loved one’s physician about what kinds of exercise will be safe for your loved one.
Excuse #3: “I’ve Got Too Many Aches and Pains Already”
Many seniors suffer from chronic soreness. Back, knee, and joint issues are some of the most common causes for these types of aches and pains. Physical activity can aggravate back and joint issues, and could even put your loved one at risk of injury, so many seniors just don’t take the risk.
As with chronic conditions, back and joint pain can be managed with the right kinds of exercise. Activities like water aerobics can prevent undue stress on your loved ones back, knees, or joints. If soreness is related to arthritis, your loved one’s doctor can recommend exercises that improve joint flexibility and reduce arthritis symptoms.
Excuse #4: “I Don’t Have the Energy”
Few seniors have the kind of energy they used to have at 20, 30, or even 50 years old. That can make it tough to motivate older adults to get active. Seniors who feel too tired or sluggish for exercise will sometimes say they’d love to get active… just not today.
Low energy levels can be a catch-22 when it comes to exercise. Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to boost energy, but exercise won’t help if seniors don’t have the energy in the first place. To help, you might consider starting with short burst of light exercise or encourage a healthier diet to improve energy levels. Sometimes, low energy can be due to a medical issue, so it is always wise to have your loved one consult their physician.
If you can’t be there to help motivate your loved one, you might want to consider senior caregiver services. At Visiting Angels, our caregivers are often provide seniors with the encouragement and motivation they need to get active. Contact your local office today to connect with caregivers in your area. 4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise
4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise
4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise 4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise 4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise 4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise 4 Excuses Seniors Use with Caregivers to Avoid Exercise
About the Author
Visiting Angels is a national, private duty network of senior care agencies. We are proud to be the nation’s leading provider of non-medical at home care services. With our elder care services, seniors can remain independent and live safely at home. Our senior care services include Social Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer’s Care, End of Life Care, Companion Care, Private Duty Care, care to prevent hospital readmission, and so much more.
Compassionate, dignified at home senior care is close to home when you connect with your local Visiting Angels office by calling 800-365-4189.View All Articles