3 Exercises to Relieve Stress for Caregivers

Relieve Stress for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is one of the most stressful jobs a person can have. The mental and physical energy involved is enormous and often underestimated and unrecognized by other not directly in this situation. To devote yourself to caring for others is truly admirable, but it is also important to take time to care for your own mental and physical wellbeing.

Here are three great stress-relieving exercises to help you relax and focus on you for a little while after a hard day of devoting your time to others.

1. Stretching

Stretching your muscles can leave you with a feeling of relief and relaxation:

Start with your legs. Stretch them one at a time, then extend them out in front of you (while in a seated position) and stretch them together. Next, stretch your back by standing and bending at the waist, trying to put your hands on the floor, or simply holding your elbows and letting your body hang loose. Then, work on your arms and shoulders. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, then move on to the next position. Be sure you never push yourself beyond what is comfortable.

2. Walking

Whether it’s a walk around the block or on a nature trail, the important thing is that you get some fresh air and start moving. If you want more of a meditation boost with your walk, head to the park to surround yourself with nature and greenery. If you absolutely cannot get outside, get the blood flowing by doing some laps around the house.

3. Tai Chi

The movements in Tai Chi are slow, intentional, and controlled. This extremely relaxing exercise helps you focus on steadying and controlling your breath while you perform the motions. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art form that helps you clear your mind and enter a more meditative state.

These are just three types of exercise you can do to help rid your body of negative feelings and stress. But, whatever you decide to do, just be sure to get out and move! Physical activity is not only a powerful way to clear your mind, but it also helps your body to release mood-lifting endorphins that combat stress.

At David York Agency, we understand the challenges and stress of being a caregiver. When we focus so much of our time and energy on caring for others, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves. That’s why we’re here to provide families with the additional support and care they need to keep everyone in their family happy and healthy.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide which services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Recent Study Shows Mild Cognitive Impairment May Be Counteracted With Exercise

mild-cognitive-impairment

A recent study has found that mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the earliest known stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, may be counteracted with exercise. The findings of the study offer hope to the millions of seniors who suffer from this common ailment.

In the study, older adults who participated in a moderate exercise program were able to increase the thickness of their brain’s cortex. The cortex is the part of the brain that usually atrophies with Alzheimer’s disease. Both healthy, older adults and those already diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment showed improvement.

“Exercise may help to reverse neurodegeneration and the trend of brain shrinkage that we see in those with MCI and Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. J. Carson Smith, associate professor of kinesiology and senior author of the study, published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society on Nov. 19, 2015. “Many people think it is too late to intervene with exercise once a person shows symptoms of memory loss, but our data suggest that exercise may have a benefit in this early stage of cognitive decline.” (emphasis added)

The participants in the study were aged 61-88 and were previously physically inactive. The exercise included walking on a treadmill four times a week. Over the course of the twelve-week study, the average improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness was 8%, regardless of whether the patient was healthy or showed initial stages of mild cognitive impairment. When it came to improving the cortical layer of the brain, those with MCI showed the greatest improvement over those who were already healthy, with significant improvement of memory recall.

This study was the first of its kind correlating exercise and the cortical thickness of the brain. Future, longer-term studies are planned to see the effects of exercise over time and also to see if those effects are long-lasting. The question is whether moderate exercise can delay cognitive decline and keep people out of nursing homes or help them to maintain independence longer.

If you or a loved one suffers from mild cognitive impairment, but are capable of regular physical activity, try incorporating more and more activity into your/their weekly routine (with the approval of your/their physician). With this study, we now know that exercise isn’t just great for your body, but also your mind.

In addition to any of your personal care needs, our David York Agency aides will be able to escort you or your loved one to appropriate exercise classes if that is difficult for you to get to alone. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Exercise and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

The New York Times just reported on a fascinating study published in the May edition of Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience in an article entitled, “Can Exercise Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk?” by Gretchen Reynolds. By examining people aged 65-89 who possess a gene related to Alzheimer’s development, APOE epsilon4 allele (e4 gene for short), the hypothesis that even moderate amounts of exercise or physical activity can help to slow the progression of the disease is confirmed. 

Exercise and AlzheimersThe study was based on relating the following factors:

  • Researchers suspect that it takes years for Alzheimer’s to actually present symptoms in patients. 
  • People with the e4 gene have a higher risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Elderly people with the e4 gene who exercised were shown to have better brain functioning than those who did not exercise.
  • Brains of people with Alzheimer’s have hippocampi, a part of the brain necessary for memory processing, that are more shrunken when compared to those in similar age groups without the disease.

The study divided almost 100 men and women between 65-89 years of age into four groups:

  1. Those who have the e4 gene and do exercise.
  2. Those with the e4 gene that do not exercise.
  3. Those who do not have the gene and do exercise.
  4. Those who do not have the gene and do not exercise.

After 18 months, the group who had the e4 gene and exercised had the same normal hippocampi as the two groups who did not have the gene while the group who had the e4 gene and did not exercise saw significant atrophy.  Obviously, this has tremendous implications for those who have the e4 gene.  An exercise regimen is an absolute must for those who have the e4 gene way before any signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. 

Whether you know you have the e4 gene or even just a family history of Alzheimer’s or neither, with all the research indicating the benefit of exercise, it would seem prudent on many levels to incorporate it into your weekly routine. 

David York Agency is well versed in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly and our home health aides and home healthcare team are adept at in home senior care.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us at our website www.davidyorkagency.com and we would be happy to give you more information about our elder care services.  You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.