When you were a child, mom and dad were quick in chasing you around. But as they get older, you may notice that they no longer have as much energy for physical activities. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the recommended amount of physical activity is about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Did you know all physical activity and basic physical movements require healthy muscles for strength and energy?
If you’re caring for parents, it is important to know regular exercise and the right nutrition not only helps them keep chronic illnesses at bay – but it also helps preserve their muscles to give them the strength and energy to achieve all of life’s possibilities as they age.
Here are five ways to help mom and dad to stay healthy and active as they enter their golden years.
Follow A Balanced Diet Incorporating Muscle Nutrients
Maintaining a balanced diet goes beyond making sure mom and dad get a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables. The body requires important nutrients and sufficient protein as it ages to support overall health and muscle strength. However, no single food provides all the nutrients for good health, so it is important to make sure mom and dad eat a variety of foods for different vitamins and nutrients.
There is also another nutrient that should be the mainstay of your parents’ diet. HMB, a muscle building ingredient, can help in maintaining muscles and physical function as your parents age. HMB is a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine and has been shown to help the body regain strength2. Small amounts of HMB can be found in avocados, citrus fruits, cauliflower and catfish, but these are not enough to fully support mom and dad’s overall muscle health and strength. Hence, oral nutritional supplementation with HMB can help keep them strong.
Incorporate Weights into Your Daily Runs
You may be familiar with the heart-health benefits of jogging and running, but why not add a little strength training into the aerobic mix? By adding some resistance in the form of ankle weights or handheld dumbbells, older adults can build stronger, leaner muscles and protect against muscle loss as they age. Consider joining mom or dad for regular jogs around the neighborhood, passing off the weights among you for a rotating benefit for everyone.
Consider Low-Impact Routines and Resistance Training
Try something new and encourage mom and dad to join you for low-impact exercises that build the mind, body and balance, which can help prevent dangerous falls3. Even if they have never done them before, the stress-busting, blood-pressure-lowering benefits of yoga, pilates and tai chi make these routines worth exploring.
In addition to low-impact routines, resistance exercise has been proven as an effective way to increase muscle mass and strength. Create more moments that matter together and try out a class or even stream routines from YouTube.
Bust A Move
Take advantage of the heart-pumping benefits of dance for older adults and crank up a few tunes from different decades for fun with the entire family. Help mom or dad take a jog down memory lane in a group class that teaches the moves of yesteryear, such as line dancing, ballroom dancing or even disco! Feeling daring? Go virtual and get a gaming console that encourages dance.
Make Workouts A Family Affair
Who said workouts had to be all work and no fun? Find physical activities that the whole family can partake in. The Ensure Gold Strength Run on November 10 is a 3-kilometer run that can put mom, dad and the whole family’s strength to the test. You can run side-by-side with mom and dad and encourage each other along the way, all while enjoying nostalgic music from the disco fever of the 70s all the way to the roaring 90s! There will also be fun activities to test your muscle strength and try other aerobics and strength training fitness.
While aging is natural, losing too much muscle mass is not. It is never too late to take steps to slow down or reverse muscle loss. These simple measures are key in supporting good muscle health so that your mom and dad have the strength and energy to continue doing the things they love with the entire family. Make your family’s muscle health a priority.