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!


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 Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus information in next week’s paper.