Role Reversal! Help Your Parents Age Actively

Article by: Christine King published in the Fall 2011 issue of Palm Beach Woman Magazine

Have you noticed that as you age your role as a daughter has morphed into more of a parental figure with your parents? If it hasn’t already don’t be surprised when this day arrives. It is typical to see our parents needing assistance in many areas, specifically in caring for their health and wellness. Simply because they are aging doesn’t mean their overall health and fitness levels need to decline. There are many ways for you to be a role model and even a motivator to help them maintain an active lifestyle.

For Example: • After work take a walk with them (you can include your children as well and make it a family affair!) •When you have dinner with them explain the healthy choices you make when cooking or ordering food in order to maintain your weight and energy level. •Emphasize the necessity of remaining active in order to prevent illness and disease. •Educate them on the science of exercise and the fact that they can combat the effects of osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease. •Let them know they have total control of how they look and feel and just doing simple movements will result in huge changes in their every day activities. You are capable of showing them some easy movements that will make an enormous shift in their overall strength. Be sure to encourage them to breath during all of these activities.

1. The Chair Stand: Ask them to sit in a dining room chair. In 30 seconds time, have them stand and sit as many times as they can. If they get tired have them stop at any time. This activity will significantly improve their overall leg strength and balance!

2. The Bridge: While lying on the floor (if they cannot get on the floor ask them lie in their bed), have them bend their knees and lift their hips off the floor. Tell them to squeeze their buttocks and pull their stomach muscles in at the same time. This is one of the most effective back strengthening exercises in the world!

3. Bow and Arrow: Purchase a circle tube and have them pull with one arm like a bow and arrow. This will help strengthen their upper back muscles which will in turn improve their posture. These are three extremely valuable movements that are not difficult and do not take a lot of time. Ask them to do 10 repetitions and build up to 20 (except for the chair stand). They will be amazed at how great they feel and their improvement will lead them to ask you for more! When this happens ask them to do these three movements twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. You can also consider hiring a qualified professional to exponentially improve their strength and independence.