Activities for 2

Getting more physical activity may help you and the person in your care feel better and become healthier.

Keep in mind that with activity, every little bit counts. Aim for 30 minutes a day. You can do it all at once or break up your activity sessions into three 10-minute chunks. Everyday activities such as walking at the mall or housework, or sports activities such as bicycling or tennis, all can be good for you.

Always check with the health care professional before beginning any activity plan or increasing activity. It's also important to ask him or her about target heart rate to help determine appropriate exercise intensity.

Tips for getting started

Consider these things before you begin getting active:

1. A little planning goes a long way. Talk to the person in your care about any activities you both enjoy.

2. Timing and location. Consider when you and the person in your care have the most time and energy during the day. It also helps to find good locations for your activity. Is home best? The park? A local YMCA? Your local high school track?

3. Easy does it. Be realistic in your expectations, especially if your own level of fitness may not be where you want it to be. Or if the person in your care has any physical limitations. You may want to start with short walks around the yard, before progressing to a walk around the block.

4. Take care. Check that the person you're caring for is comfortable during activity, and is not feeling any pain or discomfort. Contact a health care professional if there's a problem, such as shortness of breath.

Activities to try together

Here are some fun ideas to try.

Moderate-intensity activities

  • Light gardening
  • Bicycling on level ground
  • Doubles tennis
  • A water aerobics class for beginners (that is, aerobics done while in a pool; this is easier on the bones and joints, and you don't need to know how to swim)

Vigorous-intensity activities

  • Aerobic dance (with a home video or at the gym)
  • Bicycling faster than 10 miles per hour
  • Hiking uphill
  • Singles tennis

It may take a little while to get in a routine together. Try to be sensitive to what the person in your care is capable of doing, because this may change over time. What will not change are the good feeling and improved fitness you both may gain from being active together.

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