Posts Tagged Exercise

Play Pooh Sticks

Named after Winnie the Pooh, this game is quite simple.  Go for a nature walk near a river and pick up any stick you find along the way. When you find a bridge, everyone drops one stick off one side of the bridge at the same time, whomever’s stick emerges from the other side of the bridge first, wins!  This activity is great because it involves exercise in the form of walking and bending, some friendly competition, and a good excuse to soak up some fresh air.

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Fly a Kite


Not just for children (and Mary Poppins!), kites are fun for everyone.  You can buy a pre-made one at just about any drug or dollar store, or you can go fancy and get a more complicated kit at a hobby shop.  No matter what you choose to fly, the winds lately are sure to get it off the ground.  For those with limited upper body strength or the stamina to tug and pull (not to mention run to get it off the ground), they will surely enjoy watching a helper fly the kite.  Heck, if you don’t want to buy a kite yourself, I’m sure if you go to a local park or playground you’ll see at least a few people flying kites who would be happy to have an appreciative audience.    Who knows, you might even see something besides the usual diamond or triangle shape in the sky, like this amazing flying contraption below….


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Play a Round of Mini-Golf

Now is the perfect time of year to enjoy a game of mini-golf.  Warm enough (hopefully!) that it’s nice to be outside, but early enough in the year that if you go during the day, you won’t have to compete with school-aged kids for access to the course. 

Mini-golf is a nice alternative for those who used to golf, but have lost either the attention span or endurance to play for that long, or the strength to drive the ball.  It’s also fun for someone who has never played golf.  In short, mini-golf is fun and pretty non-competitive.  In fact, in my family, it’s not considered cheating if you help someone elses’ ball get in, creating an often hilarious I’ll-help-you-if-you-help-me bartering system.

If the game is still too stressful, hard, or annoying for the person with memory loss, you can always designate them the “caddy” and have them record scores.  You can also sit on a bench and watch other’s play, perhaps adding some PGA-style commentary.

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Go to Inside/Out

Inside/Out is a program put on by the DIA, in which it take reproductions of famous pieces of artwork and displays them in public places in metro Detroit.  A great way to get a little sunshine and a little culture in at the same time!  Because they are reproductions, security it less stringent about how close you can get to them.  Because it’s outside, you don’t have to be quiet.  Both of these rules might appeal to a caregiver who is concerned about what a loved one in the later stages of memory loss might do in a traditional museum setting.  Better yet, because this exhibit travels, your drive time will probably be much less!

For more information, or to learn when/where the exhibits will be held, visit the DIA website.

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Try Zumba Gold

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Zumba, per the company website, Zumba is “an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party.”  I might simplify that explanation to “it’s Jazzercise, but with Latin Music,” but that’s just me. 

In any case, Zumba Gold is their class specifically for older adults.   Again, per the company website, Zumba Gold: 

“takes the Zumba formula and modifies the moves and pacing to suit the needs of the active older participant, as well as those just starting their journey to a fit and healthy lifestyle. What stays the same are all the elements the Zumba Fitness-Party is known for: the zesty Latin music, like salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton; the exhilarating, easy-to-follow moves; and the invigorating, party-like atmosphere. Active older adults want camaraderie, excitement and fitness as a regular part of their weekly schedule. Zumba Gold is the perfect fit. It’s a dance-fitness class that feels friendly, and most of all, fun.”

Zumba gold is not specifically for those with memory loss, but those int he mild stage of the disease should be able to get the hang of it, especially if a friend or family member goes with them to help out. 

Click here for a fun video example.

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Go for a Walk

Spring is here!  Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts (this is Michigan, after all, so don’t think that we’re done with the cold yet!), and go for a walk with the person with memory loss.  As my mother always says, it’s good to get out of the house and “get the stink blown off you” and I bet after months of being cooped up, the person with memory loss will be ready to get outside for a while. 

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but bulbs are starting to grow in mine.  I also have a few elementary school kids near my house.  If you do to, why not go around recess and watch the kids play (and reminisce about when YOU had that much energy!)?

***Bloggers note:  I know this suggestion is kind of obvious, but it’s too beautiful out to try and think of something more clever!  I’ll try again in a few days!

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Balloon Toss

A good way to go through your upper body’s range of motion, tossing a balloon around is a fun way to keep your arms active.  The balloon’s movement is much slower than a ball, making it easier to catch.  You can simply toss it back and forth, or make it a little more challenging by adding music and playing “hot potato” or trying to throw in rhythm.

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Go Snowshoeing

If you can’t beat the cold weather, might as well join it!  If balance isn’t a problem for your loved one, then snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.  Just pick a (relatively) warm day with minimal wind and get out and enjoy your neighborhood, park, or trail.  You can rent snowshoes at some local parks (such as Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township .)  REI, a sporting goods store with locations in Troy, Ann Arbor, and Northville rents them as well. 

Snowshoeing is a workout, so don’t be too ambitious on your first time out.  Of course, if  you do get tired, you can always take a break and enjoy some coffee or hot chocolate from a thermos and enjoy the snow glistening all around you!

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Dancing is a great form of exercise, whether done with a partner or all by yourself.  Why not put on some old classics and make your living room a dance hall.  You might be surprised how lyrics and dance steps thought to be long forgotten are suddenly remembered once the music is on.  Even if the person can no longer do a perfectCharleston(or if you can’t!), that’s okay.  Just enjoy getting up and moving.  If the person is wheelchair or bed bound, grab their arms and dance in place.  Lots of important life events feature dancing, so see what memories come up.  Questions to ask: 

What was your wedding song? 

Did you go to any high school or USO dances? With who?

Who was your favorite singer/group?  Why?

Did you see anyone in concert when you were young? 

Who do you wish you had seen, but didn’t?


***Note: Please do not begin break-dancing, like this gentleman, without clearing it with your doctor first!***


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Go to the Driving Range

For the golfer who no longer has the time, energy, or desire to play the game, or for someone who just needs to get a little more practice, going to the driving range is a great way to spend an afternoon.  Less walking and no score make this an enjoyable activity without the stress of a full game.  Better yet, it is a great excuse to wear loud patterns and swear like a sailor (or so I’ve been told).

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