Q: I love to walk to stay fit, but I can't seem to interest my 89-year-old husband in doing any physical activity, even though he is still fairly mobile.
He said that to have any benefit from exercise, you have to "really hit it hard," and he's just not willing to do that. Is there any way I could change his mind?
A: It can be difficult to convince older adults that there is any benefit to exercise.
But interesting new research shows it's the quality not the quantity that counts.
While seniors do need at least 150 minutes (two hours and a half) a week, like a brisk walk, it makes no difference how they achieve this goal.
A study from Queen's University says a series of smaller efforts during the week is just as beneficial as one big effort.
The research by Ian Janssen and graduate student Janine Clarke studied 2,324 adults from across Canada to determine whether the frequency of physical activity throughout the week is associated with risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Although those in the study ranged from age 18 through 64 - no seniors 65 and older - researchers infer that the study will apply to seniors as it does other adults.
"The findings indicate that it does not matter how adults choose to accumulate their 150 weekly minutes of physical activity," Dr. Janssen said.
"We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it's not. spend watching a movie. so you don't have to do it all at once."
Did your husband enjoy activity in his younger years? Why not try to interest him in a variation of what he liked to do then?
For example, if he had a big garden, put tomato plants and herbs in pots around his garden that he could walk around and care for. It's a start.
Maybe he would enjoy walking with a friend. Or consider contacting Home Instead Senior Care to learn how a CAREGiver could help serve as a companion to your father, encouraging him to stay active.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact Joe DeLauter at 866-522-6533 or visit Home Instead.com.
For more about this study, visit www.eurek alert.org/pub_releases /2013-06/csp-tao062013.php.