If you’re a caregiver, you might not have much time to yourself. Whether you’re caring for a senior parent or a sibling with a disability, you may find it hard to spend away from the house for a while or keep up with your own hobbies.
Perhaps you’ve even given up on exercising since becoming a caregiver. But today, it’s easier than ever to work out from home – and depending on your loved one’s physical abilities, you might be able to exercise alongside them with tips from Autism Sibling. Here are a few practical strategies for establishing a fitness routine as a caregiver.
Set Up a Home Workout Space
When you have caregiving duties, it might not be possible to sneak away and spend an hour or so at the gym. Thankfully, all you need to set up a small home gym is a free corner of your house or apartment! You can start with a few key pieces of equipment. The Fitnessista recommends investing in dumbbells, resistance bands, a yoga mat, and a larger machine like a treadmill if you have the space.
You can practice gentle yoga sequences safely at home. While more complicated skills and poses might require an instructor, you can follow along with yoga videos in your living room to work on beginner sequences and postures. Just listen to your body, and don’t push yourself beyond your limits! Doing yoga is a great way to start or end your day.
If you find yourself craving fresh air during the day, consider exercising in your backyard! Getting outside will break up your daily routine, and you can enjoy the sunshine while focusing on fitness. Point of Blue recommends trying out a circuit workout in your backyard by setting up a chair, running laps, and then stopping each time you pass the chair to do several reps of a flexibility or strength training exercise. You can raise the number of reps that you do as time goes on!
Many people with disabilities can safely exercise with adapted workouts. If your loved one’s doctor says that they could benefit from certain forms of exercise, you may want to find a personal trainer who specifically works with clients with disabilities. They can lead your loved one through workouts that are tailored to their needs. Lots of people with disabilities can benefit from exercises with resistance bands, basic weight training, chair yoga, and even lower-body workouts. You may want to reach out to the closest gym to find out if they have any personal trainers on staff who help clients with disabilities.
Fuel Your Body
You have a long to-do list on any given day, so it’s important to give your body the fuel it needs to get everything done. As a caregiver, you’re helping your loved one throughout the day, and you’re also trying to keep up with your own routines – when you add exercise into the mix, it’s all too easy to end up feeling burned out. Silverts recommends sticking with easy, convenient recipes that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. This could include baked salmon, overnight oats, avocado toast, quinoa salad, or pasta with shrimp.
When you’re a caregiver, it’s important to remember that your needs matter, too. You’re used to putting your loved one first – but you deserve time to take care of your body and mind. With these tips, you’ll be able to create a basic home gym, stick to a simple exercise routine, and even help your loved one get fit with you!
This post was written by Sheila Olson.
Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created Fit Sheila to spread the word about her fitness philosophy. To find out more information, please email her directly or checkout her website.