Many doctors recommend exercise for aging adults because it offers a ton of benefits from mood management to helping them control health issues. But there is a slight difference between physical activity and exercise, although it’s subtle.
On the Surface, There Doesn’t Appear to Be a Difference
Movement is movement, right? To your elderly family member’s body, that might well be the case. But to her brain, there’s a big difference between exercise and physical activity. When you can understand that one small fact, it makes a lot more sense why some people have a difficult time with exercise while others don’t have the same mental blocks.
Exercise Has a Plan Behind It
Exercise has a more formal plan behind it. This is movement that involves attending a fitness class at a local gym or meeting with a personal trainer. It might also involve swimming or teaching your senior how to use the fitness equipment at the gym. This type of movement might have a lot of structure, which can be difficult for some people to enjoy. Even taking a walk after dinner has a bit of a plan behind it.
Physical Activity Just Happens
On the other hand, physical activity is what your elderly family member does during the normal course of every day. She might walk up and down the stairs in her home a few times a day, for example. Or she might do a bit of light housework. Some physical activity may have been taken over by other people, such as elderly care providers, in an effort to help your senior to cope with certain changes. There may still be activities that she can do easily, however.
A Mix of Planned and Spontaneous Movement Can Help
If you can find a way to help your elderly family member work in some planned movement as well as some spontaneous physical activity, she’s got the best of both worlds. Make it a point to find ways to move with her and try not to put too much emphasis on any one type of movement. If she runs into trouble or starts to experience any pain, talk with her doctor right away.
Finding the right mix between physical activity and formal exercise can help your elderly family member to start moving enough to start seeing a ton of different benefits. It can take some time, though, so don’t worry about rushing the process.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Bordentown, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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