Family Living Focus: Caregivers and exercise – take time for yourself

Time for Yourself

Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. Finding some time for regular exercise can be very important to your overall physical and mental well-being.

Physical activity can help you:

* Increase your energy level so you can keep up with your daily caregiving activities.

* Reduce feelings of depression and stress, while improving your mood and overall well-being.

* Maintain and improve your physical strength and fitness.

* Manage and prevent chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

* Improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks and plan activities.

Some ways for caregivers to be physically active:

* Take exercise breaks throughout the day. Try three 10-minute ìmini-workoutsî instead of 30 minutes all at once.

* Make an appointment with yourself to exercise.

* Set aside specific times and days of the week for physical activity.

* Exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support.

* Ask for help at home so you can exercise.

If possible, find ways to be active with the person youíre caring for. Both of you can benefit from physical activity!

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Information adapted from article from Go4Life, National Institute on Aging at National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

If you would like more information on ìCaregivers and Exerciseî feel free to contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus — University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus information in next week’s paper.

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