Ideas for Working Exercise into a Busy Caregiver Day
October 21, 2019
Caregivers often make their own health a low priority. It can lead to a health crisis. These tips can help busy caregivers find time to exercise.
Finding time for self-care isn’t easy when you are a busy family caregiver. Depending on how much care your relative needs and how far away they live, making time to exercise three or four days a week might seem unrealistic. The reality is, caregivers need to think of exercise as a necessity and not a luxury.
There is considerable evidence to show that caregivers who don’t take care of themselves end up experiencing a health crisis. Ask yourself, who will be able to care for your senior loved one if that happens? Fortunately, there are easy ways to work exercise into a busy caregiver’s schedule.
Exercise Tips for Family Caregivers
1. Master desk aerobics
If you work outside the home, as many family caregivers do, finding time to exercise can be even more difficult. Getting creative during the workday can help. If you spend even part of your day at a desk, try exercising from a seated position. Under the desk bike pedal exercisers are an option to explore. Desk aerobics can help build strength and flexibility. You might also want to consider replacing your desk chair with an exercise ball, at least for part of the workday.
2. Change your habits
In the course of a busy day, most of us look for ways to get things done quickly. From looking for the nearest parking spot to taking the elevator instead of climbing the stairs, our lifestyles are built around convenience. When you are trying to work more exercise into your day, however, convenience should take a back seat.
Whenever you can do so safely, park far away from the door. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and maybe go up and down them a few extra times. Do a few squats or lunges when you are on the phone or drying your hair in the morning. The goal is to find small ways to take more steps or engage in a little exercise throughout the day.
3. Exercise with your senior loved one
Exercising with the family member you are caring for is another option. Talk with their physician about what types of exercise are a good fit for them. Chair yoga, walking, hand weights, resistance bands, and swimming are a few to consider. If you enjoy bike riding, purchasing an adult tricycle might be a way for your older loved one to safely join you for a spin around the neighborhood.
4. Divide and conquer to meet exercise goals
Physicians often suggest adults set a goal of 150 minutes of exercise each week. For a busy caregiver, that can sound overwhelming. The good news is even 10 or 15 minutes of exercise at a time can yield the same results as working out for longer periods of time.
Take a look at your schedule each day and look for times you can work in short periods of exercise. It might be a 15-minute yoga session before you take your morning shower or 20 minutes on a recumbent bike while you are watching the evening news.
Respite for the Weary Caregiver
If your caregiving duties have you feeling worn out and stressed out, there is a short-term care solution you might want to consider. Respite at an assisted living community gives your loved one a safe place to stay while you take a break.
Legacy communities offer respite for a few days or a few weeks. You can take advantage of this type of care as often as you need to. Respite guests enjoy the same level of care and the same type of services as long-term residents. Call the community nearest you to learn more or schedule a tour!