Aging comfortably in any setting means taking the time to support and improve your health, and in some cases, that means pain management. This applies whether elders are working with pain regularly, or just every now and again. One thing that may surprise you is a lot of people think that the best way for elders to grapple with this issue is being less active and resting. Not always.
Science shows that many people dealing with pain and not exercising enough can end up feeling stiff or tired. Getting active is a great practice for elders of all kinds for a variety of different reasons, and now there’s a new one to add to the list of benefits. So, even for those in an assisted living community in Edina, let’s talk about the fundamentals of a good exercise plan.
Planning Your Routine
For older people trying to be more active, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be an athlete in order to start seeing benefits. In fact, anyone at any age can see tangible benefits just by stepping up their activity a small amount than usual. It’s not a bad idea in these cases to try and start off with lighter exercises. This applies even for people who know that they could do more at full strength. Starting lighter gives you a few benefits if you are in the midst of a pain episode rather than just going at full bore. A minor bit of physical activity increases circulation, which can help healing and reduce achy feelings.
But what if you decide that you need more acute support with your pain management? There are a lot of root issues that can contribute here, so the first place you want to start is working with a personal trainer/physical therapist. Memory care in Edina is a great starting point to work with these professionals. Their advice will be invaluable when it comes to finding ways to target the muscles where you may feel soreness most often. Developing them can help a lot with these issues. Another thing to be mindful of here is making sure that you aren’t overcompensating with other parts of the body when one part is sore. Building up your balance will make you feel better and avoid overexerting yourself.
Some people prefer formal discipline, especially for pain relief. If you’re looking for options here, some of the best options here are T’ai Chi or yoga. Both of these disciplines combine planned stretches and movements to support flexibility and strength. Deep breathing is also combined with these. Some of these people combine the spiritual side of both practices, but deep breathing can also help reduce anxiety.
For those who may not be able to do conventional exercise for one reason or another, one of the best options is aquatic therapy. While this isn’t necessarily the most common option available, it’s also held in high regard. This is largely due to the fact that while submerged, you get less impact on your joints from weight and gravity. This makes it easier for you to move around and do certain routines. Along with this, the lower load also combines pain tolerance. Note that any physical routine here will be easier to do in the water, allowing you to move around in ways that you wouldn’t be able to be on a land-based routine. Something like holding to the pool’s edge and moving your legs can help increase your heart rate.
Even with these points in place, some people may need to think of alternatives to fill out their exercise routines. This especially applies in areas where you may not be able to do a conventional routine. This generally applies to people at work or traveling. While some people use medication to help reduce soreness, this isn’t always applicable. Let’s talk about some of the alternatives available.
Some people may recommend aromatherapy for seniors when exercise isn’t possible. Your success may vary. On its own, aromatherapy can’t likely reduce soreness. However, it complements other measures well. Some people share anecdotes where scented herbs and oils help reduce muscle soreness and help with sleep. Acupuncture runs on similar principles. This helps with short-term relief by increasing blood flow to some parts of the body. Just make sure that you choose a professional you like and trust first.
One thing that doesn’t get talked about a lot when it comes to impact is the type of dietary choices you make. If you exercise but are still dealing with soreness, you may want to make sure that you get more vitamin D. This helps with muscle aches. How much you take depends on the recommendations of your medical professionals. Try to take your vitamin D along with your meals, and get sun exposure whenever you can.
But what about people feeling sore on the road and wanting relief? If you can’t exercise, consider how you are sitting. Also, any type of activity can be of benefit here. Just try and walk around, stand up, or do some basic stretches. Again, you don’t need to go full-bore to get some benefits when it comes to activity.
In some cases, due to issues with traveling or just the reduced amount of comfort involved, these may not be the first choices for elders wanting to get their exercise routine started. However, if you have any long-term goals with this, getting some sort of professional framework and support is essential. So, if you are a resident at senior housing in Edina, before trying something new, try to talk to the medical professionals on staff first. This will ensure that you’re safe no matter what you want to try. Exercising within your limits and practicing good dietary habits are key to improving your overall health and quality of life.
Aurora Senior Living is managed by Ebenezer, Minnesota’s largest senior living operator. Ebenezer is the senior housing division of Fairview Health Services and has 100 years of experience serving older adults.
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