Busy home caregivers (and really, is there any other kind?) often neglect their need for exercise. While running errands and taking care of Grandmother can be taxing, these activities don’t necessarily provide the body with the kind of exercise that it needs to remain physically healthy.
Struggling to find ways to keep active? Check out the following tips specifically designed to help busy home caregivers.
- Consider your timing. Devoting a chunk of time, such as ten minutes or half an hour, to concentrated exercising is ideal. Look over your schedule and see if such opportunities are likely to present themselves. If they are, make a point of scheduling a workout. If such a scenario is unlikely, as it may be for many home caregivers, work on short-form exercises: spend 30 seconds or one minute in between tasks on a particular exercise.
- Decide what kind of exercise you need. Some people just need any kind of physical activity to keep themselves in shape. Others have more specific requirements: something to work the cardiovascular system perhaps, or exercises that build upper body strength. Figuring out where you need to focus can help you exercise more efficiently when you are able to work out.
- Make use of your surroundings. Going to the gym is a great way to keep fit, but may not always be an option. Take a look around the house and see what exercise opportunities are at hand. For example, you may want to do a few bicep curls to help build strength in your upper arms. Using weights is ideal, but if none are at hand, a soda can or water bottle can help add a little challenge to those curls.
- Add wrist or ankle weights. Consider purchasing inexpensive weights to wear around your wrists or ankles while you execute daily tasks. Be sure to start out slow: wear the weights for a half hour the first day and build up from there to avoid making your muscles too sore.
- Don’t just stand there. Often home caregivers find themselves waiting around. While waiting for Father to finish dressing, take time to do some stretches, lunges, or squats. When cooking dinner and waiting for the water boil, engage in a few toe-touches or other exercises.
- Add on to your activities. Some everyday activities can be converted into useful exercise, provided you act carefully of course. For example, when vacuuming, consider extending the length of your reach and engaging in a few lunges. When taking a pot or pan out of the drain board to return to the cupboard, do a few arm curls to work the biceps.
In the best of all possible worlds, home caregivers would have time to spend an hour at the gym or on an exercise bike at home. When that’s just not possible, make a commitment to sneaking in as much exercise as you can to keep healthy.