FITNESS AND NUTRITION FOR ELDERLY

Certain illnesses or medications for seniors may have a negative impact on appetite. Additionally meal times may have lost their appeal, especially if your loved one is living alone.

Staying active and fit could seem as a difficult goal for many elderly adults who are unable to do what they were used to doing.

Challenges that most family members or caregivers face is motivating seniors to eat healthy and stay fit. Here is how to help your loved ones to stay fit and to eat healthy.

Fitness 

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Setting up a light fitness program is vital for elderly adults. Regular exercise controls blood pressure, body weight, and cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It strengthens your muscles and bones as well as lowers the risk of falling or other injuries. Keeping the body fit can help you maintain your independence as you age. It allows you to enjoy the activities you have always loved to do.

Aerobic Activities

Walking for 5-10min a few days each week is a good way to start. If you can walk for 30min at a time you are ready to add more to your routine. Aerobic routine will help you built the strength you need, supporting the aerobic exercises.Activities that increases your heart rate builds aerobic endurance. Just after six you will be able feel more comfortable while doing your exercises and daily activities. 

Aerobic activities for senior adults to begin exercises, such as water aerobics, walking, swimming,ballroom dancing and square dancing.

Strength

Small changes to your  muscle strength can have a huge impact on your life. Daily activities such as carrying groceries, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of bed or a chair requires muscle strength. if you are an elderly adult you should do strength training at least twice a week

You can start by 0.453kg - and 0.907kg dumbbells, try  completing  10 to 15  variety of weightlifting exercises, such as bicep curls, chest presses or you can use your own body weight. You can also use your own body weight to provide resistance, while doing these exercises.Completing  a variety of activities strengthens your major muscle groups, including your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest and arms.

Balance

Many elderly adults are treated in casualty departments for injuries such as falls For older seniors, minor injuries can have serious consequences as well. Yoga can  help improve balance as well as flexibility.

  Exercise to help improve your balance

  1. Stand directly behind a chair, such as a chair that won’t tip easily.
  2. Rest one hand on the back of the chair that you most stable and comfortable with and the other on your hip.
  3. Lift your right leg (if strong enough to balance on), bending the knee slightly.
  4. Hold your leg up for a count to 10. And take few breaths.
  5. Then do a few more repetitions on that side,then switch legs and repeat on the other side. 

Stretches

Have you noticed getting to do your basic daily activities , such as reaching and object from the kitchen table or getting dressed, aren’t that easy as before or as it used to be. Do your muscles often feel stiff? Adding some daily stretches to your routine will help improve your movement around the household. 

Start by warming up for 2 to 5 minutes before staring with your stretches by a slow walk or marching on one    place.After warm ups slowly move your body into the stretch position your would prefer, hold your position for at least ten seconds.Remember breath slowly throughout the entire stretch and relax. Remember that stretching should never be painful. If you feel sharp pain while stretching, or soreness the next day, you’re pushing too far.

 Simple neck stretch while standing or sitting down:

  1. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a slight stretch.
  2. Don’t tilt your head to the back or forward.
  3. Hold the position for about 10 to 20 seconds.
  4. Slowly turn your head to the left. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  5. Then repeat three times in each direction.

Nutrition

Senior adults diets may need to change, especially if their diets are not packed with nutrients or well-balanced. That means their diet should consist of a variety of fruits such as vegetables,fruits,  proteins and whole grains to maintain and improve their health. Eating a healthy variety of foods, there are specific things a caregiver can do to their love ones diet to boost their health.

Prepare Meals Rich in These Nutrients

  • Omega 3
    Omega 3 has been proven to reduce inflammation, which can be found in walnuts,canola oil and fish.Your loved one should have foods rich in omega 3 at least twice per week.Check with their physician to see if an Omega 3 supplement would be beneficial.
  • Calcium
    As people age their need for calcium increases, to preserve bone health.The benefit of calcium is that it helps to lower blood pressure. Elderly seniors over the age of 50 should at least add 1200 milligrams of calcium to their diet daily ( equal to four cups of pure orange juice, dairy milk, or non-dairy milks such as almond or soy. Greens such as turnip are great sources of calcium Many elderly seniors find it challenging to consume this much calcium in their diet daily , check with their doctor to see if they could in stead take a calcium supplement.

Limit Sodium Content

High blood pressure is one of the most important things relatives/caregivers can help to reduce is a loved one's hypertension,by preparing foods that are low in sodium. Added table salt accounts for only a small percent of sodium content in food. As for frozen, processed and restaurant foods are high in sodium, and should be avoided, try to incorporate foods that are naturally low in sodium, vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, unsalted nuts and oats.

Hydrate

Elderly seniors do not get thirsty very often, if you notice your loved one do not drink any liquids provide them with it, even their bodies need the same amount of liquids. If they do not want to drink a glass of water chances are they will drink something else such as a healthy smoothie.

If you are concerned that your loved one may not be hydrated , check their urine. Urine is the best sign of hydration or lack of it. Clear and light urine means that they are most likely hydrated and cloudy or dark urine means that they should start drinking more liquids.