January is the perfect time for a refresh and for setting new goals for the upcoming year. At this time of year, we encourage our service users to think about what they might like to achieve and what goals they’d like to set. If you or an elderly loved-one are struggling with ideas, we’ve put some together for you:
Do more exercise
It is more important than ever to stay mobile. Our cardiovascular system undergoes a 20 to 30% decrease in cardiac output when we reach the age of 65. Our Oxygen uptake decreases by 9% for men and 5% for women and our muscular systems undergo a loss of 40% in muscle mass and a 30% decrease in strength by the age of 70.
Strength and flexibility exercises can help prevent falls and injuries, as they improve balance and mobility. Improved muscle strength can also help us function better in general.
Exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease or strokes and is proven to reduce and maintain normal blood pressure levels. It helps to maintain healthy arteries in our hearts, as well as maintaining cholesterol levels and reduces obesity and type two diabetes.
Weight-baring exercises such as brisk walking, bowls and tennis, can help keep the bones healthy.
Gentle exercises such as yoga or pilates can help improve mobility and flexibility. The breathing exercises that come with yoga or pilates can also offer a sense of inner calm and reduce stress. Deep breathing allows more Oxygen to circulate around the body, which helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Take up a new hobby
Having a hobby that can reduce stress and anxiety is extremely important in this day and age and we encourage our service users to take up something to keep their mind and hands busy. As many of them are not as able as they used to be, they often take up hobbies they can do from the comfort of their own home, such as knitting/.
Singing can reduce anxiety and depression thanks to the release of mood boosting chemicals into the body.
Joining a choir or singing group is also great for the elderly to build new relationships, meet new people and improve their overall quality of life. In a group they’ll learn to control breathing with singing and it’s great for improving self-confidence and tackling loneliness.
Birdwatching is a great activity that we would encourage people of any age to take up. It’s not physically demanding, so great for those who are less mobile, but is mentally very beneficial.
If you’re not able to get out and about on birdwatching walks, then you can simply set up a bird feeder that’s visible from a window and sit back and watch the birds flock to it. A pair of binoculars will come in handy too, so you can really get a good look at them.
If you get yourself a book to help identify them, then you can learn all about the different species and test your own knowledge, which is great for memory.
Birdwatching can also help with reminiscing, as the appearance of certain species and the sounds of birdsong can trigger memories.