How much exercise does my aging mom really need?

August 15, 2023

As we age, our bodies get tired and when you don’t have an exercise routine it can be hard to start one (not to mention the late summer heat)… so how much exercise is really needed?

According to the CDC, adults aged 65 and older need:

  • At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or they need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running.
  • At least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.

Is it just us, or does 150 minutes a week seem like a lot for my mom. She is in relatively good shape, but she suffers from arthritis, and let’s face it she’s not a spring chicken. I can’t possibly imagine her working out for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

While I think the CDC makes a good point in its recommendation for health, to move, I don’t think exercise needs to be confined to walking, jogging or hiking. It’s time to rethink exercise and think of it more as mobility.  Let’s talk about mobility and what that means. 

Mobility is the ability to move or walk freely and easily. Having mobility is crucial to staying independent and living alone. In clinical environments, mobility is often defined as the ability to stand alone and pivot. If one can stand and pivot, it unlocks a level of independence that can really make a difference. So if the goal is to maintain mobility, then balance is just as important as strength. The truth is balance takes strength, but strengthening the muscles needed for balance isn’t always what you think. 

Simple exercises can help both – strengthen and balance. And you don’t have to be in excellent physical condition to incorporate these into your daily routine. 

5 Simple Exercises to Increase Mobility: 

1- Chair Preps- Sit in a chair upright and engage the core, using your core push your feet into the floor, come to the edge of standing, but don’t actually stand then return to your seat. 

2- Mountain Pose –  Although this may seem like an easy exercise, it’s actually an intense pose. See below for a better understanding.

3- One legged lifts while sittingClick the link here for a detailed description. 

4- PivotIncrease your ability to move around completely with this simple exercise.

5-  Arm Push-UpsPush-ups don’t have to be on the ground from a plank position. Click here to see a more accessible version of this classic exercise. 

Do any of the exercises look like you can do them? Give them a try and let us know how it goes! Also, teach your elderly loved ones how to do them. Core strength and balance may just be the key difference in keeping someone independent longer.

If you or a loved one is looking for an assisted living facility or memory care – don’t do it alone! We are here to help. Call us today – 941-867-0809

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