Supporting the older generations

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Take some time to lend a hand

What are many people in the younger generations thinking about these days? It is all about building those gains, getting yourself an absolute dumptruck of a booty and getting that summer body. Now, take a moment and think about how ridiculous all of this sounds. Many of our parents and grandparents are probably wondering if we are even speaking the same language as them when these types of phrases come out of our mouths. For those of you who do not speak ‘social media influencer,’ essentially what the goal has become is to hit the gym and become as thin and toned as you possibly can. This is not necessarily a bad thing to do. Obviously, it’s the promotion of taking care of your body, taking pride in your physical appearance, and helping your confidence and self-esteem. But what about our parents and grandparents who did not grow up during the time of the gym boost? How are they supposed to know what to do when they did not have a new gym or fitness studio on every single corner? They rode their bikes, played sports and walked to where they needed to go and that is how they got their exercise. The need to go to a gym to purposefully ride a stationary bike is something that they did not do and is likely a baffling concept for them now (Editor’s Note: At 26 years of age, it’s baffling to me].

So what are we supposed to do about it? Our parents and grandparents were the ones who took care of us when we did not know anything. They taught us how to use a spoon and to not topple over when walking around. It is now our time to return the favour. Everyone’s physical health is so important to their overall well being and ensuring that we take the time to check in and see if the older generations in our lives are taking care of themselves is equally important. Not only will this help to strengthen the bonds between yourself and them, but it will also help to keep them motivated to change their habits and to take steps towards a healthier physical lifestyle.

This is not an indication that your 85 year old grandmother needs to start pumping iron and taking pre-workout with you. There is no need for them to work out as aggressively as you might at the gym, or even to go to the gym at all. Oftentimes, as we age, it is not the need for intense physical activity that we are craving but rather general fitness. Very few individuals are training to run marathons or starting careers as bodybuilders, so you have the opportunity to go a little easier and enjoy the activity that you are doing.

Where does this leave you? It is time to introduce your parent(s) or grandparent(s) to the joys of walking and stretching! You may be thinking that this does not really sound like much but it will do wonders. Eventually you may reach a point where you are not as concerned with having the biggest arms in the room but rather with being able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded at the top of them. Regina has plenty of walking paths that are available for public use and are quite beautiful to walk on when it is not -47 outside. For the time being however there are places that offer access to inside tracks or treadmills that you can utilize as well. Although this may be intimidating for them at first just think of how adorable it would be to see your little old grandmother walking around your gym while you are there attempting to impress the person working the counter with your bench press.

If this does not make you super excited then you can assist them with a task that is much easier to do from the comfort and safety of your own home. Not only allowing them to perform this task in a space that makes them feel more secure and less self conscious, but also saving you from any potentially embarrassing mishaps that may occur from sharing the same public workout space. This involves showing them some basic stretching and/or yoga poses. Oftentimes, the biggest way that we injure ourselves (especially in really strange ways) is due to a lack of mobility and flexibility. To limit the risk of this occurring take the time to show them how to properly stretch major and minor muscle groups. After a couple sessions this is something that they should be able to complete on their own without your assistance or supervision.

These do not sound like very large tasks and that’s the point! These are not horribly daunting, large, time consuming tasks. Taking care of the physical health of those around you and supporting them when it comes to maintaining that health is something that should not be a large or hard thing to accomplish. The most difficult aspect of this is looking past your own ego and worries about appearance and social image to help those in your life who did not grow up around this culture. Taking care of one’s own health is becoming increasingly more challenging as more people acquire desk jobs, quit athletics after high school or post-secondary and are faced with the challenges that gyms can cause. These fitness facilities can be scary for those who are unsure what is considered appropriate in the space and can also be extremely costly. By taking the time to help out and look after those in your life you are not only helping to improve their overall health but also their quality of life as well.

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