Question What activities will help my mom get exercise perform when she’s feeling tired every day due to medication (and isn’t willing for her to exercise)?
Answer My stepfather began to become alarmingly less and less active because of this pandemic back hurt and the medication I had to fight the temptation to join his back and push. It was essential that the desire to be more active came from within the person. The effort of trying to convince people who are tired often may result in feelings of resentment towards the person or the task.
For your mom my first suggestion is to ensure with her physician that the cause of her sleepiness is not due to an underlying cause. In addition, she should consult her physician about the amount and kind of exercise the doctor recommends. Physical activity that is moderate to vigorous might not be suitable for someone suffering with constant fatigue. Another concern is how well your mother sleeps. Lack of sleep can result in an increased risk of experiencing bouts of fatigue, injuries as well as an impaired immune system and a decrease in concentration.
However, it’s more effective to redefine the concept of exercise as continuous, intentional moving during the course of your day. The most effective way to achieve this is to intensify the amount of activity you do every day, like moving up from a sitting position at least every 30-45 minutes. cleaning up for fifteen to 20 minutes at least twice each day, walking the outside or inside of your home on a daily basis and taking out large items or put them away (such as dishes, laundry or grocery items) every day at least per day.
It will also include the seven vital movements that older adults require for physical fitness and to remain independently. These are the movements:
- Pushing (like closing the drawer)
- Pulling (like opening doors)
- Twisting (like shifting pans from one end on the cooktop to other side of the stove))
- Bending (like hinging on the hips to switch sheets)
- Squatting (like climbing in and out of an office chair)
- Lunging (like walking up and down steps)
- Gait (like walking or running)
The goal is to stop the deconditioning of muscles as well as joint stiffness that can occur when people go for long times without exercising. The gentle movement and exercise will not trigger the feeling of becoming exhausted from exertion. Furthermore, exercising more can help the body create more endorphins that improve mood, energy and ability to focus all day long. One of the most annoying aspect of fatigue caused by persistence is feeling like you’re slipping behind in your daily activities.
If the fear of COVID prevents your mother from large groups of people – particularly indoors – she could enroll in online gentle fitness classes specifically designed for seniors. Certain classes are based on floor exercises, while others require a chair. You can look up online classes provided through SilverSneakers and my studio online Agile 4 Life Fitness. Make sure you look over the classes to determine if the instructor and type of exercises you will be an appropriate fit for you.
If your mom is at ease taking a class in person I would suggest gentle pilates, yoga, warm-water exercises or tai chi. These exercises all work on the muscle’s strength-stretch reaction and help keep joints moving. If she’s comfortable at an exercise center I suggest using an recumbent bicycle or a stepper that is at a comfortable level. The goal of functional fitness for people over 50 is moderate exercise at 30 minutes per day every day for 5 days. It is possible to start with 10 minutes two times a week and slowly progress to the desired level. By “slowly,” I mean weeks and not days.
A class can aid in determination and responsibility. It can be difficult to overcome inertia when you’re exhausted. My online studio is where we encourage family and friends to attend classes to check out the class’s activities and also to support people who have returned to exercise. When your mom is received by her loved ones and other class members, it will encourage her to find the motivation to get moving more. If her students and instructors learn to anticipate her, it will aid her in adhering to a daily routine.
Also, I want to stress that this activity should feel like playing. Moving your mom more should be fun and exciting. For my clients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome I’ve constantly adjusted their workout routine in accordance with their energy levels during the day, hour and minute. We run slow races to stack lighter things and move them from between sides, sit down and throw them, then get up to throw them over and over. It’s important keeping it easy, and to keep the fun. Be careful not to push your mom when she tells you she’s got enough. It’s okay to be assertive in your concerns but only if it’s covered with lots of affection, respect and understanding.
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