By Susan Berg United States
We all know that exercise is good for us but for some reason, the older we get, the less we do. Contrary to popular belief, poor balance and muscle weakness has a lot more to do with inactivity than age.
Implementing a regular exercise routine for residents can have a dramatic impact on their health and well being. There will always be those who choose not to participate, all you can do is try.
Make sure you run an exercise program at least twice a week to help residents maintain their best physical function.
The old adage is true: Use or Lose it!
Regular exercise is proven to:
Convincing those who are apprehensive to participate in group exercises can be a challenge.
Here are some things you can try:
Be enthusiastic and engaging when running group exercises - remember that positive energy is contagious!
Consider using props to add an element of fun to your sessions. Props also increases hand strength. You can use:
Find suitable music to accompany your exercise routines. Music has the ability to lift spirits and put residents in the right frame of mind to move.
You could use background music or sing along music depending on your routine.
Residents may not have the endurance or desire for a long exercise routine so you may want to combine it with a sing a long or trivia questions after the routine or even in between exercises.
I prefer to use a shorter workout that can be repeated if the residents really enjoy it.
I like to have the residents count forwards and backwards to 10 or 12 by ones, twos or threes to easily add a cognitive aspect of the session.
You want to incorporate exercises using as many body parts as possible, including:
Before starting a routine, remind the residents if they get tired or uncomfortable, to stop at any point.
Tell residents to do some kind of movement during an exercise even if they can not do the exercise as shown. Any motion is better than no motion.
Remember to face the residents positioning yourself so all can see you. Some experts say to stay in one spot so the residents can focus on your movements.
Alternatively, move around the room addressing residents by name who are having trouble, giving them necessary cues or assistance.
Take a short break after doing two or three exercises by having the residents slowly breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth two or three times.
Here is a gentle and low impact seated chair exercise routine using props. Be aware that seated exercises may have contra-indications for some clients. Consult clinical staff before starting the session.
Take what suits your clients from the session below or devise your own program.
Start with simple stretches of arm and legs then begin the routine:
Ask residents to say hello to the person on your left and then repeat on the right side. Repeat two or three times on each side.
Look up and then look down to your lap or the floor. Repeat two or three times.
Pass out props - encourage residents to look at how pretty it looks when they move the props during an exercise (visual stimulation).
Arms and Legs
End with Music & Games
End with marching and singing,
“When the Saints Go Marching In”
Pretend you’re riding a bike and sing,
“Bicycle built for Two”
Pretend you're riding a bike and sing
Play a short game of kickball, bat the balloon with your hands, or any other movement game of your choice.
You can find hundreds of ready made short exercise sessions on youtube! You can search for suitable ideas and inspiration for low and high funcitoniont residents.