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How (and Why) Family Caregivers Can Commit to Exercise

Posted: 8/27/2019 8:00 AM by Interim HealthCare

Life can be hectic for family caregivers. You’re already packing 25 hours into a 24-hour day. Who has time for exercise? 

 

Yet, when you’re juggling work, home, and your caregiving responsibilities, exercise is especially important. If you’re busy taking care of everyone else and no one is taking care of you, it’s a recipe for disaster. 

 

Exercise can relieve or help with many challenges facing family caregivers, including:

Better sleep

Although researchers don’t understand how, research shows that people who exercise regularly also get better-quality sleep. And as a family caregiver balancing many different things, sleep is essential!

Improved memory

When you’re juggling so many priorities at once, it can be difficult to keep track of small details. What time were you supposed to pick your daughter up from practice? How long was that work presentation supposed to be? When was Mom’s doctor’s appointment? 

 

It’s a lot! 

 

Exercise can provide a critical boost to your brain activity, improving your memory and better equipping you with the skills necessary to keep all your important dates, times, and reminders straight. 

Stress relief

Yes, being a family caregiver is stressful! It’s okay to acknowledge that, while also taking steps to mitigate that stress. Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have against stress. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, chemicals that make you feel good. These endorphins can also help stave off or alleviate signs of depression, which are common among family caregivers.

Better health

You probably don't need this reminder, but exercise is good for you! It helps prevent a host of chronic health conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more. Remember, you can’t take care of everyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself first! 

How to fit exercise into your busy routine

While you may be convinced exercise is important, you may also be wondering how you can fit any type of exercise into your already-packed days. Here is some inspiration to help: 

Work out with your senior loved one

In many cases, exercise is not only safe but advised for seniors. Be sure to check with your loved one’s doctor first, but once you have the green light you can maximize your time together and benefit both of you with some exercise. 

Exercise in short bursts

You’ll be hard pressed to find family caregivers who have two hours to spend at the gym every day. Exercise has a cumulative effect throughout the day, so work it in when you can! Five minutes here and five minutes there add up, and by the end of the day, you should be able to get in at least 30 to 45 minutes of activity. 

Get up ten minutes earlier

Sleep is definitely important, but sometimes the only way to squeeze in something extra is by sacrificing a little sleep. Try getting up just 10 minutes earlier to do some stretching or basic yoga poses. If you don't like stretching, find something else that you can do for a few minutes, like taking a quick walk around the block.

Put exercise on your calendar

Sometimes the only way to be sure something gets done is to put it on your calendar. If you look really closely, you may be able to find 30 minutes here and there to schedule some exercise. See if there’s a gym near your office, bring your walking shoes and go for a walk during your lunch break, or find other opportunities to make it work. 

Find a senior home care provider.

Senior home care providers can take care of your senior loved one while you go on a long walk or hit the gym. When you know you don't have to worry about your senior, you can concentrate on yourself for a little while, which is better for everyone.

Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your loved one.

Here at Interim HealthCare, our senior home care services complement the love and care only you can provide your loved one. We help you take care of things -- and yourself -- to keep Mom or Dad safe and happy at home. To learn more, contact your nearest Interim HealthCare location.