I have heard a few of my friends mention that they wish they could pass on some of their healthy exercise and eating habits onto their aging parents. How funny how the roles reverse! Since many of us in the Gen X generation, have embraced healthy habits and set ourselves up for years of wellness, it’s only natural that we want that for our own parents as well. So, how can we encourage aging parents to be more active and healthy?
How To Encourage Aging Parents To Be More Active And Healthy
Check in with their Doctor
Consider going along with your mom or dad to their doctor to hear first hand what their current limitations, if any, might be. If they are open to it, it’s a great way to get the conversation started.
Tap into their interests
Was there a sport or activity your parent was interested in at a previous time? Is there a way to get them back into that activity?
Make it manageable and convenient
As with any change, for it to work it has to be manageable and convenient. If your parent is already going to a community center or library for a book group or card game, maybe that’s the place to begin a search for a physical activity. Perhaps there is a stretch class or walking group from the same spot?
It is important for them to be able to incorporate a new activity into their existing daily routine without feeling burdened. Start with small, achievable goals such as a 15 min walk twice a week. From there, it’s easy to add onto that.
Do they have a friend or a group of friends that could all work on a goal together? Just as we like to exercise with our friends, our parents may as well. My mom and I take a trip to wellness retreat each year. We try to take a few fun classes together and always discover new activities.
My mom loves to go shopping for workout clothes together. Dress the part and all! She does still refer to her bottoms as “jogging pants” though which always makes me laugh.
Be patient it might take a while for your mom or dad to get on board with all of your new ideas. So tell me: Are your parents active? Have any other tips on how to encourage aging parents to be more active?