How to Get Your Aging Parents to Move More

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Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. But it's especially important for older generations. Active men and women over the age of 65 are 50 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, new research finds.

"Physical activity is extremely important for improving quality of life and reducing the risk of chronic disease," said Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko, Ph.D., dean of the American University Graduate School at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois and senior sports expert. "But this knowledge does not always translate. For practice: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly one-third of adults 50 and older don't exercise at all.

"It's hard to tell them what to do if they don't motivate themselves," Chodzko-Zajko said. "We used to talk about exercise prescriptions where the doctor would tell the patient what he or she needs to do. I think it needs more of a two-way conversation -- focusing on how to increase exercise time together."

Here's how to start a conversation so you and your parents can enjoy the longevity and memory-extending benefits of an active lifestyle for many years to come.

7 Ways to Help Parents Exercise First
Set realistic goals. Talk to your parents about what will be important to them as they grow up. "Let them think about who they want to be in 10, 15 or 20 years," Jozko-Zajko said. "Maybe they want to be able to shop anytime, anywhere. Or they want to be able to live alone in their own home."

Connect the dots. Once you've identified motivation, it's important to make a connection between that goal and physical activity. For example, in a study of more than 1,600 sedentary men and women between the ages of 70 and 89, those who started a moderate-intensity exercise program were 18 less likely to become disabled during the two-and-a-half-year study period. %. Need extra ammo? Check out a simple physical exam that can help you understand your heart and the need for a blood pressure monitor for your dad.

Find out activity preferences. Does your father like to swim? Does your mother like to dance? “A lot of people in that generation thought that in order to stay in shape, they needed to go to the gym,” said Lisa Reed, a personal trainer in Washington, D.C., who has worked with dozens of older clients. "It's not like that." Swimming, walking, dancing—these are all sports, and the less work they are, the more likely they are to stick with it.

Focus on what you can achieve today. While the government recommends 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, it can be an impossible task for people who are not used to exercise. So start at an appropriate level with your parents.

Chodzko-Zajko tells the story of his 60-year-old teacher mother who came home after a busy day and just wanted to get up. Instead, he encouraged her to walk to the store at the end of the street. She did it three times the first week, four times the second, after which he urged her to walk another block, and so on. "She's been listening to experts on TV telling her to exercise for 30 minutes five days a week. To her, it's like saying, 'Climb Mount Everest.' The 87-year-old attributes her longevity to this ingrained walking habit. .

Track their progress. While instructing his mother to walk to the corner store, he also told her to check her calendar every day so she could achieve that goal. These check marks further encourage her to leave the house the next day as a reward. Your parents can do this using any standard calendar or planner, or they can monitor all workouts and activity times through the watch app. Some trackers, like Bp doctor watch, can even detect and log activity automatically. "Activity trackers are very useful because they allow individuals to assess what they are currently doing and set goals to increase their physical activity.
Encourage your parents to recruit one to three friends. This will help keep them enthusiastic and responsible. "All they need is a friend who can walk with them and who won't cancel the date," Reed said. Group training is also a good option. Reed worked with three women between the ages of 68 and 72, one of whom had a knee replacement. "We work on balance, posture and core strength," she says. "It's more economical when you share the cost, and it's a small enough group that we can focus on the (proper) practice of everyone."

Don't forget your daily activities. Exercise is important, but more exercise than traditional exercise should be non-negotiable. According to the American Heart Association, regular exercise may not be enough to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Show parents how to get more exercise throughout the day by doing things like swinging their legs in front of the counter or balancing on one leg while brushing their teeth. "It's all about exercising a little more every day," Reed said.