In an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers examined if there were benefits to Tai Chi or conventional exercise on central obesity in middle-aged and older adults. Hundreds of participants were assigned exercise interventions including aerobic exercise, strength training, and tai chi. What this study found was that Tai Chi was effective at reducing waist circumference in the participants.
Most centers today provide exercise programs, equipment, and training for residents who are interested in being physically active. This doesn’t have to be a structured, skilled therapy program, it should be more social and based on activities versus medical modalities.
We need to remember, as we age, our view of “body image” may change however the negative impact of obesity never goes away. This is especially true of waist circumference as it relates to cardiac health. When was the last time you evaluated your activity program? Have you talked to your residents to see if an exercise program would be welcomed? Maybe, just maybe, they might be bored with bingo? Let’s move past the pandemic and look at the basic premise of long-term care. The majority of our residents live in our centers to enhance their lives with socialization, balanced meals and providing ADL care/clinical care that they are unable to meet in the community. Stay well, stay informed and stay tuned!