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How can we encourage parents to remain active as they age?

How can we encourage parents to remain active as they age?

April 22, 2022 | Becky Vordermann

Everyone one ages over time. As we ourselves age, our parents also age. During the aging process, individuals can struggle to maintain the physical fitness they had in their younger years. You and your siblings or spouse may be concerned about your folk’s fitness, and wonder “how can we encourage our parents to remain active as they age?” This article addresses just that question. 

We should be asking ourselves this question! We want our parents to stay active so that they are happy and have a positive outlook on life. Physical health correlates positively with mental health. We also want our parents to be active, so that their life is long. Those that maintain light to moderate physical fitness, even as they age, live longer. 

Ideas for keeping parents active

Make time to participate in favorite physical activities together

    One of the best ways to encourage your parents to remain active as they age is to participate in their favorite physical activities with them. These activities can be current favorites or hobbies of the past, that you know they enjoyed years ago.

    If your Mom and Dad like going for an evening stroll, ask if you can come along a couple times a week. This will show them that you support their efforts to stay active. If your parents like to take bike rides, ask if they can take you riding on their favorite route. 

    You can encourage your parents to take part in hobbies of the past that involve physical activity. If you recall your parents enjoying cross-country skiing, when you were young, you may want to take them to a local park and rent skis together. If your parents played in a softball league when you were a child, seek out an adult league you can all play in together! 

    Engaging in your parent’s favorite activities of the past or present is a fantastic way to encourage your parents to remain active as they age. It allows you to simply take a little time from your schedule and do what they love now. If you want to go above and beyond, you can seek out opportunities to reintroduce your parents to activities they enjoyed in the past. 

    Plan family outings that get everyone moving

      Family outings that encourage everyone in your clan to get moving, are a great way to promote physical activity in your parent’s life, as they age. There are so many activities that can be fun for the whole family and promote physical fitness for all. 

      Biking is a great activity for the young and old in your family to engage in together. If you have children in your family that are too young to ride and keep up, bike trailers and child seats can even be attached to ensure all can participate. If your mom or dad has ailments that limit their speed and mobility, eBikes are a great way to ensure they can tag along on rides with comfort and ease. Some individuals may think you cannot get a workout on an eBike. Not true! eBikes have pedal assist, that allow you to move and keep up with others by putting in the effort you are able to. These bikes put less stress on the knees and hips when pedal assist is engaged. 

      Hiking, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, and swimming are all other possible activities you can do with a group of all ages, to encourage your parents to remain active with age. They are all low impact and great for individuals of all ages to do together. 

      Introduce your parents to new activities

        Introducing your parents to new activities that get them moving can help you to encourage them to remain active with age. Some possible activities to introduce parents to in this endeavor include: eBiking, yoga, zumba classes, water aerobics, and more. 

        eBiking is a great way to encourage your parents to remain active. It can be done in a wide variety of locations. eBikes are adaptive to the rider, with pedal assist and throttle functions. Step-through and step-over frames are offered on modern eBikes. Those with limited range of motion, will likely want to check out step-through eBikes. 

        Yoga can encourage core fitness and flexibility that allows aging individuals to stay mobile and participate in other physical activities. The community your parents live in may have yoga classes you can introduce them to. If they do not there are many videos available to guide individuals of all levels through yoga practices. You may want to do one or two together, and show your parents how to access these videos on their own, if they enjoy this type of activity.

        Zumba and water aerobics (and other fitness classes) are widely available. Introducing your parents to these types of classes can be a great way to promote an active lifestyle. They also are an excellent way for your parents to stay social and get to know other active individuals in their community. You may invite your parents to attend one of these classes with you the first time and if they show they enjoy them, you could give them a pass to attend them later on their own.

        It is never too late to try something new. If your parents are struggling to stay active, a great way to increase their activity is introducing them to something new. This may be a simple activity like eBiking or an organized class such as Zumba. 

        We can add our parents to our family gym membership

          If you live near your parents, you may consider adding them to your family gym membership to encourage them to remain active as they age. Many gyms offer family rates. If you, your spouse, and children already share a membership, you may be surprised at how inexpensive it is to add your parents on, too. 

          Gyms offer individuals access to a great variety of equipment, classes, and even trainers to help individuals fine tune their fitness routines. Often new members get a free consultation with their membership. You may want to look into this at your gym. If your gym does not offer this service free, you may consider giving your parents a session with a trainer, as a gift to see what suggestions the trainer has for them moving forward in their pursuit to stay active, with age. 

          A gym membership is overall a great way to promote an active lifestyle. It allows one to exercise their body in a number of ways and personalize their fitness journey. 

          Take organized fitness classes together

            Organized events including fitness class (as we mentioned earlier) or organized bike rides and hikes can be a great way to encourage our parents to stay fit and active as they age. Many nature centers and community organizations offer organized hikes. Local bike shops and community groups often host group bike rides. Fitness classes can be found at community parks or centers,  on the beach, or at the gym. 

            Any of these kinds of events can be fun to do with your parents. They can help them meet other active individuals in their community. They can help you and your parents work toward your own personal fitness goals together. They can be an easy and fun way to encourage your parents to remain active, even with age. 

            If you are looking for a class, hike, or ride to do with your parents, call your local community center, department of recreation, bike shop, or nature center to see what is offered in your community. Community calendars that are often available on line or in a local paper can help you find these kinds of events to partake in with your mom and dad as well!

            Give gifts that encourage physical activity

              Gifts that promote physical fitness are a great way to encourage your parents to remain active as they age. Some possible gifts that we suggest to promote physical fitness, for those who have aging parents include: electric bikes, hiking sticks, gym memberships or fitness class punch cards. Guides to biking our hiking routes in your region are other excellent gifts for promoting physical activity. 

              If your parents were once avid skiers, snow shoers, tennis players, or excited about another game like bowling or golf, then you may consider a gift related to one of these activities. 

              Gifts related to physical activities are a great subtle way to encourage our parents to remain active as they age. They can be used to celebrate any holiday or birthday. 

              Conclusion

              Encouraging our parents to remain active as they age is important. It can be done in many ways, ranging from introducing them to new activities like eBikes or yoga to making time to get out with your parents and participating in their favorite physical activities. 

              The list above is a great starting point for those that want to encourage their parents to remain active as they age. Depending on where you live, and the personal preferences of you and your parents regarding physical fitness, suggestions on this list may be more applicable to some than others. No matter how you go about encouraging your parents to remain active, know it is a positive gesture and important to do so, as your parents age.