Some things don’t change when Mom and Dad retire. If they weren’t into exercise before, they probably won’t be jumping to get at the gym after that retirement party is over either.

However, retirement is the time when mature adults really do need to get serious because that old saying, ‘use it or lose it’ is never truer. Moving about stretching muscles and using joints is important as is gaining and maintaining strength, flexibility and balance.

Adult children and grandchildren can take several steps and encourage the senior parents and grandparents to join in exercise, make it fun and most of all, manageable. Here are a few tips:

  • Develop the exercise mindset. Make a walk a part of the day rather than a chore or mood. Take a camera, listen to music, chat with friends. At Galloway Ridge, the treadmills are often abuzz with chatter and plans as friends meet up to walk indoors daily.
  • Start out small. No one needs to start off running a marathon. In fact, starting slow is a good thing to build endurance and momentum.
  • Water is your friend. Carry a water bottle and drink it all while you are walking. It fights off dehydration and helps flush the body of toxins.
  • Rewards are fun! And well-earned. It can mean a dish of ice cream or donut or a new book, scarf or other trinket. Getting in shape and being healthy is not about deprivation or punishing yourself. Use something as a reward to keep you going.

Family and friends can set good examples for the exercise reluctant seniors. Include them in walks or outings that require walking. Share healthy snack and tricks and tips you have gathered through your own healthy living efforts.

Having an exercise facility close to home helps seniors stay motivated and interested. Galloway Ridge has an exercise facility and an indoor pool at the Duke Center for Living. Groups of friends gather to stay healthy and have fun at the same time. It’s great to have trainers and other staff available to help, too.