Keeping your elderly loved ones active and physically engaged is one of the most important parts of your senior care efforts for them, but when the weather gets frigid and the snow and ice begin to fall, it can be difficult to get them out and about as much as you would like, or they need. This does not mean, however, that you and their senior health care services provider should just give up on keeping them active and wait for the spring thaw to get started on those New Year’s resolutions to be healthier and more active this year. Instead, use the remaining weeks of winter to get yourself and your seniors more active in anticipation of the warmer weather to come, and thoughts of a big physical fitness goal as your motivation to keep all of you focused on your progress.

Planning for a 5K is a fantastic way to engage your parents’ minds and bodies in a way that is exciting, ongoing, and easily customizable for the activity needs and limitations of your seniors. A 5K sounds daunting and impressive, but the reality is that the distance, which equals out to just over 3 miles, is highly attainable for nearly everyone, and most of these “runs” are actually designed for beginners who may need to jog or even walk the distance. This means that even if your aging parents are not able to attain a run or consistently jog, or if one of them is in a wheelchair, you are going to be able to find a run that will accommodate these needs and allow all of you to get out and experience the fun and accomplishment of achieving this goal together. Participating in one of these events is a fantastic way to nurture their bodies as well as stimulating their memories, encouraging conversation and sharing, and keeping their minds sharp and healthy.
Use these tips, and share them with your parents’ senior health care services provider, for boosting their health by preparing for a 5K with your elderly loved ones this winter:

• Find the perfect one. One of the most important parts of pursuing a goal like this is having a specific end point in mind. By selecting the exact 5K that you will run, jog, and walk, you know by what date you will need to be prepared and have a theme or cause in mind so that you can use it for motivation as you work toward your goal.

• Start with a plan. Work with your parents to come up with a plan for pursuing your goal. This will likely mean changing their diet to support energy and healthier functioning, finding the types of workouts you enjoy doing together, and coming up with a schedule. This is a great opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your parents and encourage them to be active, engaged parts of the process.

• Go gradually. With a goal ahead of you it is easy to get overwhelmed and start pushing yourself and your seniors too hard. Avoid the temptation, and instead take your time to work gradually and steadily toward your goal. You should never feel completely exhausted, and remember that your seniors will have shorter limitations than you will. Be sure to talk with their doctor about your plans so that he can recommend the right indoor exercise program for them and offer recommendations for maintaining their health and wellbeing throughout the recovery period.

• Hit the road. As soon as the weather is not too treacherous, head outside to get some miles under your feet. If one of your seniors is not able to push this hard, either have him stay with his senior health care services provider or bring him along in a wheelchair for some extra upper body work. The important thing to remember is to get out, get active, and have fun together while getting healthier and working toward your goal.

If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in St. Paul, MN and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.