Exercise is an important part of living a healthy life. Learn how to start exercising safely and discover how exercise can improve the health of caregivers and people receiving care.
Benefits of exercise
Improve strength, fitness, and balance
Feel more energized
Prevent caregiving related injuries (e.g., when repositioning and transferring)
Manage chronic disease better
Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
Reduce risk of falls
Improve sleep quality
Continue participating in leisure activities and hobbies
There are four main types of exercises:
Helps prevent falls and improve coordination.
It is recommended to do balance exercises daily.
Example: standing on one foot.
Helps strengthen muscles and bones to protect against injury from daily tasks like helping someone move and transfer, or carrying heavy items.
It is recommended to do strength exercises 2 to 3 times per week.
Example: lifting weights, carrying groceries.
Helps improve energy levels, breathing, and heart health.
It is recommended to do endurance exercises 3 to 5 times per week.
Example: walking, biking or dancing.
Also referred to as stretching. Helps reduce muscle stiffness and pain.
It is recommended to do flexibility exercises 3 to 5 times per week.
Example: yoga or stretching.
Who can help me start exercising?
Some people may not be comfortable creating an exercise plan for themselves. Health professionals such as a physiotherapist, registered kinesiologist, or personal trainer, can help create exercise prescriptions.
Getting an exercise prescription may be especially helpful if someone:
Is new to exercise and unsure where to start
Has a history of falls
Is living with osteoporosis, COPD, heart failure, dementia or Alzheimer’s, or other chronic health conditions
Ask a doctor about getting an exercise prescription. Most provincial health plans cover physiotherapist services, and some extended health plans may cover registered kinesiologist or personal trainer services.
Tips for safe exercise:
Focus on breathing throughout exercising. Avoid holding your breath.
Focus on good posture. Keep both shoulders down. Sit or stand tall.
Stay hydrated before and after exercise.
Take as many breaks as needed, especially when tired or out of breath.
Start with easier exercises before challenging yourself.
Gently tighten stomach muscles throughout the exercise routine to engage more muscles.
Slightly bend knees when doing standing exercises to help with balance and improve leg strength.