As your parents age, you’ll notice them start to slow down. Their comebacks aren’t as quick as they used to be, and neither are their reflexes. While getting older obviously has something to do with it, a sedentary lifestyle may be more to blame.
Sure, your parents might not be able to swing a baseball bat, much less run an eight-minute mile, but that’s no reason not to exercise. In fact, it’s all the more reason to get moving. After all, the longer they lounge around, the faster their brain and body will deteriorate.
Encourage your parents to adopt a more active lifestyle and boost your entire family’s health by working out together. While getting them to break a sweat may take some convincing, you’ll all be happier and healthier once they do.
1-) Allows for Bonding
When you get married and have kids, they become your family and you inevitably see your parents less often. It’s simply a part of life. However, technology has opened the door for everyone to connect as often as they’d like.\
Whether they live far away or just around the corner, fitness provides an avenue to connect and motivate each other.
Let the kids tag along — online and in person — and let the fun commence! Soon, everyone will forget they’re working out and just enjoy the time they’re spending together. Connecting over movement and sharing energy will help you all form bonds and repair old ones, which is good because all that exercise will probably mean your parents will be around for a while longer.
2-) Promotes Safety
More than 25% of adults over age 65 have a fall each year, and many of them end up in the emergency room. All too often, poor balance, high doses of medication, low blood pressure and faulty hand-eye-coordination are to blame. However, your parents shouldn’t have to feel unsafe in their own home.
Help your mom and pop regain a little strength, mobility and peace of mind by working out together. Focus on refining everyday movements like sitting down, standing up and bending over by incorporating simple exercises like squats, wall sits, sit ups and the like. The stronger they become, the lower their risk of falling.
3-) Increases Independence
As your parents grow stronger, they’ll feel more confident traipsing about the house and completing more challenging tasks without you. Of course, this may highlight their stubborn streak. However, helping your parents become more independent is the whole point of working out together. Plus, allowing them to complete certain jobs will restore their sense of dignity, which is key to improving their mood and overall quality of life.
Exercise can also help your parents better manage pain, which can further increase their independence. Begin by incorporating low-impact exercises like tai-chi or water aerobics into their weekly routine. Eventually, their joints may allow them to tend to the garden, scale the stairs and complete tougher workouts with little to no pain.
4-) Supports Brain Health
Working out regularly can slow the aging process and support brain health by stimulating the production of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemicals can reverse the effects of stress and improve blood flow to the brain within minutes, which can boost their mood and incentivize them to work out more frequently.
Frequent exercise benefits memory, as well, regardless of regardless of whether your parents suffer from memory loss. Focus on multimodal and mind-body exercises like yoga, stretching and resistance training to help them reap the most benefits.
5-) Inspires the Next Generation
If you bring your kids along to work out, they’ll get to watch their grandparents do things they never thought they’d be able to do. Your mother and father’s strength, resilience and determination will then inspire the next generation to strive for those same qualities, which could instill healthy habit to last a lifetime.
Make cross-generational connection and communication easier by working out in ways that everyone can enjoy. For example, you could play a classic yard game like darts or have your little one suggest a game of thumb war. While these activities may not feel like exercise to you, they’ll help your parents improve their mobility and endurance.
Adopting a Positive Outlook
If your parents keep moving and stay active, they’ll no longer fear getting older. Rather, they’ll look forward to it. In addition to regaining some of their strength and mobility, they’ll also obtain mental clarity so they can be more present with friends and family. Moreover, they’ll have the chance to keep living, to visit new places and experience new things.
So, while it may look like you’re just helping your parents get fit, you’re actually offering them a glimpse of their youth and adding years to their lives. In return, you and the kids get to spend more time with them. And if that sounds like the best deal ever, that’s because it is.