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Hot, HOT, HOT. That’s our weather! How about yours? The hard part about all of this is helping our aging parents stay healthy and active in spite of the heat. That’s definitely one of the goals of caregivers, including those of us in the Sandwich Generation, throughout the summer, isn’t it.
Walking is one of the best exercises, but heat can make it so much more difficult – especially for our elderly parents. Studies continue to prove that:
- “Older adults can decrease their risk of disability and increase their likelihood of maintaining independence by 41 percent by participating in a walking exercise program, according to a new University of Georgia study.” Click here to read the entire article.
- Walking could protect brain against shrinking, US research says
- Brisk Walking Might Improve Blood Flow to Brain in Elderly Women
- Seniors for Living had a fascinating article that reported, “Recently, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found a correlation between even relatively small amounts of increased mobility and shorter lengths of stay in the hospital. Guess that’s why they get us up and walking ASAP – as early as the same day of a surgery! 😉
Wow! With excellent news for all of us baby boomers and seniors, we definitely need to help our aging parents – and ourselves – stay on top of being active and especially walking a lot. But how?
- Aquatics programs – local swimming pools are all open now. If your senior parent can handle cool pool water, there are plenty of choices. The hard part is trying to walk through a crowded pool full of happy children lunging around. But if you check with your local parks department, you may discover they have special times available just for seniors. Or perhaps just for lap swim. But be sure to ask if “lap walking” is also an option AND if it is not to deep for that option.
- Gyms and fitness centers – many of these may offer senior discounts, and maybe even special times for seniors. This is a chance to go walk on a treadmill inside an air conditioned building. Make sure your senior parents use those little gizmos that attach to them so that if they start to tumble off, it will turn off the treadmill. I would also stand close – perhaps walk on the treadmill right next to them – to help monitor their actions.
- Malls and grocery stores – one of our favorite stand-bys. Just head for the store and walk around inside while shopping or even just window-shopping.
It’s not always easy or convenient. But keeping our senior parents healthy and active will pay off in huge dividends for them AND for us! And by the way, speaking of heat – don’t forget to keep reminding them to drink water – a lot – for so many reasons! My senior mom is really struggling with that but doing well with a bit of monitoring. Another friend’s mom just fainted recently. He discovered she had only had a glass or two to drink the whole day. Needless to say, he is monitoring much closer now as well. That’s important any time of the year, but especially right now with hot days and doubly so when they are exercising.
How about you and your aging parents? How are they staying active during the hot days of summer?