I had the most amazing experience this morning in my fitness career.
I attended a Strength For Seniors class. Yes. I did it.
Being youngest was one thing, but being surrounded by 27 other 50-74 year olds was pretty entertaining.
Apart from a corny and hair raising ‘YMCA’ dance-off for the warm up, the class was full of energy, enthusiasm and action. I was in awe seeing them pushing, pulling and just moving. Really they were just moving and that made me happy.
In the middle of doing something like 20 bicep curls, the instructor lost me. Well no I did not faint but I had the images of my parents in mind. They’re both turning 60 in 2014 and as much as I am truly blessed to have parents who are still strong with no major diseases and working in their respective careers for well over 40 years, I do want them to grow older feeling healthier than they ever did before.
So this is it.
I owe today’s post to my parents, and to all our parents out there for spending the last (insert your age here) odd years or so raising us. Say thanks to them, kiss them on their cheeks, give them a hug and most importantly, look out for their health because they really did ours in our younger years. Below are the 3 things you can do for them today to ensure they grow old gracefully and with more years to spend time with our kids, and like MY grandmother, their grandkids kids. Pretty awesome.
1. Go for walks WITH them.
Walking is the easiest, and probably the most effective exercise we can do with our parents. Not only it helps delay cardiovascular diseases such as non-insulin dependent diabetes and heart disease but going for walks builds up endurance, keeping heart, lungs and the kidneys healthy. I’ve recently started going for walks with mum and she loves it, especially after one full day of work. It’s also effective in keeping mood levels regulated, ensuring depression and other psychological problems do not arise later in their years.
What to do? Start off with 10 minutes of brisk walking at a moderate pace, a pace where you’re still able to hear them talk. If they’re huffing and puffing, you’re probably going too fast – so slow down. Increase time every fortnight and work up to about 30 mins per session, three times a week.
If your parents thinks it’s too easy, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to go for a slow jog with them. They’re definitely fit for it and it’s better for their cardiovascular system considering their advanced fitness levels.
2. Get them a pair of 2-3kg hand weights. Or a couple of resistant bands. And train them.
Resistance training has proven to be beneficial for older adults as much as it works insanely well on the younger us. Apart from being an excellent weight manager, resistance training for our parents strengthens their bones, increases their flexibility and improves their independence in their day to day living. It delays diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. Bottomline? They can do more with age. I’m sure they’ll be thankful for that.
What to do? Start using a pair of dumbbells while going for walks. Make sure they start light and adjust the weights appropriately. Once they’re comfortable with the added weight while walking, start introducing simple exercises, working from the head to toe.
Advanced exercises include doing a side lunge with a shoulder press, like this.
3. Keep their brain active.
For Christmas last year, I bought a Kobo e-Reader for mum. She loves it and I think she’s way more cooler than me reading with it. I still love holding, touching and feeling my books in my hands. You know what I mean.
What to do? Get them crossword puzzles. Encourage them to read. Buy that 1000 Sudoku puzzle you see for $2.
It keeps dementia at bay. And no, we don’t want our parents to have dementia do we?
Unless we want a real life THIS happening. Sorry, I had to. It’s RYAN GOSLING.
Of course, practising a little common sense in fitness is always recommended. Your parents and mine could be as different as chalk and cheese. And for any exercise recommendations, seek your doctor’s advice and whatnots.
It’s never too late to start. Believe me, they’ll thank you for it. And it’s really always nice to see them live for many more years to come.
That’s it from me for today! Happy weekends!
Do you exercise with your parents? What else do you think we can do for their health? Drop me a comment below!
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