For many of our parents, the idea of working out or being health-conscious is a relatively new concept. In the last 20 years, we have seen a rise in the amount of senior-focused programs to accommodate the growing interest in senior health.
As an Older Adult Specialist, I often get calls from children who want to get their parents in better health — but are unsure where to start. When I give advice to people for their parents, I usually base it on the seniors that I work with who appear to best grasp the concept of healthy aging. Below are four ways children can prepare their parents for healthy aging.
- Encourage them to lift weights. – I know many people didn’t grow up around parents who lifted weights, but this would be one of the first things I would recommend. As we get older and our need to maintain bone density increases, lifting weights keeps you strong and helps you maintain bone strength. To ensure that seniors lift weights properly, I would recommend that they work with an experienced professional (like a personal trainer) or join a group class where the instructor focuses on lifting form and technique.
- Keep them social. – Recently, I had a class where most of the people met for coffee afterward. Although the primary reason people come to my class is exercise, I have seen the effect that relationships and friendships have in regards to how happy people seem. For me, it also doesn’t hurt that when people have friends in the class, they most likely will be more consistent in attending.
- Move… even when you might have aches. – It’s safe to say that if you live long enough, you will most likely have aches and pains. Despite the aches and pains that you may have, it is still important that you move and exercise. Some of the benefits of exercise are that it lubricates your joints and strengthens the muscles around the joints that might be aching due to arthritis.
- Have interests. – Interest keeps your mind active. Whether it is exercise, gardening or just reading, interests give you something to look forward to and stimulate your brain. For anyone who wants to be healthy, I would recommend that you find something you like to do and make it a regular hobby.
While children can encourage their parents to do many things, one of the best would be to influence their need to be healthy. Although living a long life is important, living a life that has quality means so much more.
About the Author: Eric Daw is an active aging specialist and the owner of Omni Fitt. Omni Fitt is dedicated to the wellbeing, health and quality of life of people aged 55 and over in Toronto. Eric motivates and empowers the older adult population to take responsibility for their independence, health and fitness through motivating and positive coaching experiences.