How to Make Time for Exercise When You Are a Caregiver

  • July 15, 2019

A challenge family caregivers often face is how to make time for healthy self-care. As the duties of caring for a senior mount, it is common for caregivers to sacrifice things they don’t perceive to be necessary. For some, it is relying on fast food or convenience meals and sacrificing nutrition. For others, exercise is sacrificed and viewed as a luxury rather than a necessity.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more adults are finding themselves juggling these types of decisions. Research shows that almost 40 million adults in this country are caregivers for a family member. That translates to nearly 16% of the entire US adult population.

The reality is that caregivers who don’t make time to care for themselves end up experiencing health crises of their own. From back injuries to digestive problems, headaches and frequent colds, the demands of caregiving can take a toll on one’s health.

The good news is that when you work a few minutes of exercise into your day, a few times a day, you net the same benefits as thirty continuous minutes of exercising. Here is a checklist of easy steps you can take to get started.

Small Ways to Increase Daily Exercise

  • Whenever you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s a good form of aerobic exercise.
  • If your senior loved one isn’t with you, park a little farther away at the mall or grocery store. The extra steps can add up quickly.
  • March in place while you are drying your hair or making dinner.
  • Try seated exercises like chair yoga or stretching. If it’s safe, include your senior loved one. It will probably help them sleep better too.
  • Walk around your house or yard while talking on the phone.
  • Buy an exercise ball and use it as your seat when you are watching television or working at your desk.
  • If you are stuck waiting on hold or have a few extra minutes before your next activity, do a few push-ups against the wall or several squats or planks. Over the course of a week, it can make a difference.
  • Wear ankle weights while you clean the house. It will help make everyday chores a little more physically demanding.
  • Keep a pair of hand weights in your kitchen or near your favorite spot on the couch. Take five or ten minutes to use them each day.

If you’d like to include your senior loved one is some physical activities, talk with their physician first. They’ll likely suggest walking, swimming, Tai Chi, or chair yoga. These senior-friendly forms of exercise are good for both of you!

Respite Care at Five Star Senior Living

Another important part of healthy self-care when you are a family caregiver is taking breaks on a regular basis. Respite care was designed to make it easier for caregivers to do just that. Consider enjoying some quiet time at home or heading off for a long weekend at the beach. 

Call us at today at (617) 796-8387 to learn more about short-term respite at a Five Star community near you!


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