Every Journey Begins With One Step

Attainable Ways to Increase Cardiovascular Health

Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, Director of geriatric education at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, NY, says,

“Fitness activities and continuing exercise routines is one of the best things an elderly individual can do for his or her health.”

Do you think your aging loved one could benefit from increasing their daily exercise? Are you wondering how to get them started? We’ve listed suggestions for you to consider.


Many local senior centers offer exercise programs for little or no cost. It’s a perfect way to combine socializing with exercise. However, if group exercise isn’t the right fit, do what provides happiness and is stress-free. If gardening brings joy, swimming feels great, dancing gets your endorphins up, bicycling is refreshing, then certainly include these activities as part of an exercise routine.

Need ideas for a routine for Mom or Dad? Here are some suggestions for every level of fitness:

  • Walk. In addition to the physical benefits, walking also affords the opportunity to meet others and be social. However, winter in New England can make walking outdoors unsafe. Call your local senior center to ask about access to indoor school facilities during non-school hours, or look into local mall walking clubs. They usually have early access to malls so crowds aren’t a factor (information on the Natick Mall).
  • Dance around your living room or kitchen. Put together a song list of Mom or Dad’s favorite tunes and show them how to work the electronics to access it.The smiles will start and soon enough, you’ll see them tapping their feet and singing along.
  • Do the stairs a few more times than usual. Be sure Mom or Dad is wearing proper footwear (not slippers) and that there are no tripping hazards.
  • Swim or try water exercise classes are a great way to exercise. Contact your local YMCA or gym for a schedule. Some water classes are held in the shallow end of the pool so any level of swimmer is welcome. Locally, the Metrowest YMCA offers a fun Aqua Fit class that helps to alleviate arthritis and muscle pain.
  • Bike. Try cycling on a stationary bicycle.They are widely available and can be used at home, in assisted living facilities or at a fitness center. It’s an opportunity to get the heart rate up even for those unsteady on their feet.
  • Chair exercise. If Mom or Dad has access to a computer or tablet, set up an easy link to an appropriate YouTube channel to find videos for every fitness level. Try this chair exercise video from Stronger Seniors.
  • Think spring. Once the weather improves, gardening, mowing, or raking the lawn can provide enjoyment and much needed fresh air and sunshine. Be sure to follow safe gardening guidelines to prevent overexposure or injury.

Help your older loved one to get exercise – consider joining them and get some healthy benefits for yourself as well!