Caregiving makes physical, emotional, mental and social demand on the caregiver. These demands can lead to stress which over time can increase risk of illness, depression and burnout. It is important for a caregiver to focus time on caring for themselves as well as providing care for the care receiver. Two areas of importance to self-care are exercise and proper nutrition.
Benefits of Exercise2
- Exercise has a positive effect on all systems of the body.
- Exercise increases the heart muscle allowing the heart to pump blood and decrease resting blood pressure.
- Regular aerobic exercise is exercise that can be carried out continuously (swimming, brisk walking, dancing)
- Aerobic exercise increases the capacity of the lungs.
- The strengthening of the back and legs improves muscle endurance.
- Improving bone health provides better support for the body and better posture which reduces the chances of injury.
- Weight bearing exercise (running, walking, weight lifting) helps keep bones strong and decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
- Exercise promotes better neuromuscular function which helps to maintain balance and skilled movement.
- Exercise helps maintain body shape and size which can affect how we feel at any age.
Tips for Getting Active3
- If you are over 40 years old, suffer from a chronic illness or osteoporosis or have been inactive for a long period of time it is important to speak to your health care professional prior to beginning a fitness program.
- It is important to choose activities that you find interesting.
- Find 2 or 3 different types of exercise that you enjoy which will allow you to rotate your exercise activity to avoid boredom
- Exercise with friends.
- Choose safe and comfortable forms of exercising such as walking, swimming and cycling.
- Weight training can increase your muscle tone and muscle mass in a relatively short amount of time
- Start off slowly and aim for small improvements.
- Check your pulse frequently to make sure you are not over doing it.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise
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