If you are like most caregivers who are battling Alzheimer’s disease, you are so tired that the very thought of driving to a gym, waking early to exercise, or taking time to put in an exercise tape stresses you and makes you feel even more tired and burned out. But I promise you this – if you exercise 30 to 60 minutes per day, especially if you can manage to get outside and catch some fresh air and sunshine, you will feel much less stressed and more energized.
Exercise has numerous benefits, here are three:
Exercise improves mental sharpness, in part, due to the increased oxygen to the brain. Some studies have even shown that those who exercise have sharper minds, faster reaction time and better memory than those who don’t exercise.
Exercise reduces stress-not that you have stress as a caregiver, but on the outside chance that you do, exercise will really help. I recall feeling as if my head was going to explode. I wanted to punch, kick, and scream simultaneously. A brisk walk always helped me to put things in perspective and burn off some of that negative energy.
Exercise increases energy-I know you are tired, very tired. Exercise will help you to feel energized. Yes, you get tired after a good aerobic workout, but it’s a “good tired.”
You know the benefits, here’s how to squeeze it in to your already hectic life
Make exercise a priority! You are no good to your loved one if you are tired, sluggish and empty.
Take small steps. Instead of circling the mall or grocery store parking lot for the closest space, intentionally park further away and w-a-l-k.
Make exercise a priority! Tell your friends and family members of your desire AND plan to exercise. Ask them to hold you accountable and check in on your progress from time to time.
Ask for help. Your job is often 24/7. Ask for some help so that you can get out, breathe some fresh air, and get your heart rate up a little.
Make exercise a priority! Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Walking is certainly the least expensive and most convenient exercise, but if it doesn’t appeal to you consider the following:
Swimming – It’s easy on the joints, and provides an awesome head to toe workout.
Organized Class – Aerobics, water aerobics, dance, kickboxing and martial arts all will give you a great aerobic workout and help you to relieve tons of stress.
No matter what you do, GET MOVING. Make exercise a priority! Find something you enjoy and get out and exercise. The benefits far outweigh the costs in time and money!