When you are a caregiver, you have a lot of responsibility. Even for the strongest among us, many caregivers find their role impacts their health, both physically and mentally. Keeping this in mind, it is essential you find an answer to the question of how can caregivers fit exercise into their schedules.
In order to care for others, sometimes you need to put your own health first. If you need a helping hand, there are opportunities to talk through ways to improve your life, either online or through house calls.
Here are a handful of ways (and reasons) to get started.
The Benefits of Exercise
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve your health. Moving regularly and with the goal of staying fit can help you to control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your mood, strengthen your body, and improve your sleep.
According to American Heart Association recommendations, adults should strive for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week and at least two days of a strengthening activity.
There are a wide variety of exercise options depending on your fitness level. If you are new to exercise, be gentle with your body. For example, walking has aerobic benefits and a yoga class can help with strength training.
How Can Caregivers Fit Exercise into Their Schedules
Make caregiver life balance a priority. If you do the math, 150 minutes a week is equal to 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. If you are a busy caretaker with a packed and tiring schedule, you may think you don’t have time for this commitment. But don’t stop before you start, stay positive. With a few lifestyle changes you can add movement to your days.
For example, maybe it is possible to weave exercise into your day as a caregiver if it you are not able to put extra time aside. Perhaps the senior you care for could even get some activity in too, adding a healthy benefit to both of your lives. While there may be too many limitations to go for a jog, you could add daily stretching to your days. Or, consider classes. Possibly you could attend a class together, maybe Tai Chi.
Set yourself up for success and start slow. Opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or if you are in the kitchen waiting for water to boil or a timer to ding, use the counter for support and do a few angled push-ups. Lifestyle changes can make a big impact if you increase your movement steadily week after week.
There Is Help Available
While being a caregiver to a senior or an older adult you love can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be very stressful. Some report experiencing caregiver burnout, that after a period of time the emotional, mental, and physical toll of caregiving begins to feel like a burden.
Taking care of yourself is essential. Talk through your issues. Keep your body healthy with nutrition and exercise. It is important for you, and the loved one you care for.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.