Exercise for Caregivers
The health benefits of exercise are tremendous. It’s very easy to forget about caring for yourself when you are caring for others but the benefits of exercise should not be overlooked. We get so focused on the well-being of others that we self-neglect. We forget that our own wellbeing is critical to those we care for.
Here are a few of the health benefits of exercise:
- increased energy
- decreased depression
- improved physical and mental strength
- better sleep
- reduced risk of heart disease
- longer life
- weight control
- improved cholesterol
- lower blood pressure
- feel better
The recent Wall Street Journal article called “When Nurses Catch Compassion Fatigue, Patients Suffer” highlights the need for caregivers taking care of themselves.
A 2010 Humana-commissioned study found that baby boomers caring for their parents put their own health second as well (full article).
“People who ignore their personal well-being are often fine at first,” said Jean Bisio, president of Humana Cares, Humana’s complex-care-management program for members with chronic disease. “But over time the impact on one’s personal health can be seen in weight gain, fatigue, and stress-related illness.”
Exercise 1% of your day
We can easily recite a long of the health benefits of exercise to those we care for, so why is it so hard to practice what we preach? It’s time to change that. Research tells us that even 10-15 minutes of exercise a day is beneficial. In actuality, 15 minutes is only about 1% of our day. Surely we can all donate 1% of our day to our health and wellbeing right? There are many ways to make this time for ourselves, Here are a few-
- Exercise with a friend/coworker. It’s always easier to do something active with a friend (not to mention it helps to be distracted from the task at hand).
- Make an appointment with yourself. Just like any other appointment try not to cancel. Pencil in time for yourself and stick to it.
- Pick up a fun hobby that is also exercise. Take a swing dancing class, join a hiking club, walk with your dog, or try some sort of martial arts.
- Do shorter workouts. Commit to a 10 minute workout each day but try to do 3 of those.
- Have walking meetings or phone calls. Make multitasking workouts part of your day. Make phone calls while walking or doing some sort of physical activity.
- Walk away from the coffee shop. Instead of sitting down for coffee with a friend. Walk and drink your coffee.
- Don’t miss your favorite TV shows, just exercise during them. Fitwatch has a great list of exercises you can do while in front of the TV.
Want to know more ways to get in your 15-minutes while at work, home, traveling, waiting, and watching TV? Check out this article in Prevention Magazine 25 Easy Ways To Fit In 10 Minutes Of Exercise.
The health benefits of exercise are worth 1% of your day. Don’t forget how important you are to the people you care for. Take time to take care of yourself, so you can take better care of them.